February 14, 2014 – Drug education and prevention: a primary school perspective

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website 3Mentor are determined to bring evidence-based practice to mainstream education. We will do this through the delivery of free regional seminars exploring best practice in prevention and showcasing promising programmes for young people.

On Friday 14th February the Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Information Service challenged the harsh weather and brought its fifth seminar to Oxford!

This seminar explored practical and efficient ways to deliver alcohol and drug education and prevention in primary schools, through the promotion of a healthy lifestyle and positive behavioural choices.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), in evidence they provided to the government for a review of PSHE, emphasised that social development programmes, especially if started at an early age and carried out throughout different Key Stages, can not only increase the attachment to school and therefore improve academic performance, but also improve social skills and reduce aggressive or disruptive behaviour. This could consequently reduce risk factors associated with risky behaviours and alcohol and drug misuse.

The Good Behaviour Game, an early classroom management intervention programme, is a great example of the above. Christine Spring introduced major aims and outcomes of this programme, also outlining its efficiency in preventing the onset of alcohol and drug use in early adulthood. The Good Behaviour Game is a way of managing class behaviour during lessons by dividing pupils into teams, which, during short periods of the day, are given the chance to earn prizes and praise by keeping to simple rules for good behaviour.

Jenny Dee, from Caught in the Act, then explored how the use of theatre and acting can be used to effectively engage pupils in lessons, provoke insightful thoughts, andchallenge sensitive topics. She gave great examples of short acts used to educate primary school pupils around alcohol and drugs related issues.

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Actors Matthew Maddigan and Soraya Willis – Caught in the Act

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Actors Matthew and Soraya show the audience examples of short acts and stories to provoke thoughts and discussions among pupils about smoking and its effects.





















Pete Kirby, from Coram Life Education, stressed the importance of going beyond traditional approaches to alcohol and drug education. He highlighted the need to challenge pupils’ misconceptions around the use of alcohol and drugs among peers through the reinforcement of positive social norms and life skills.

Our last speaker, Dr Jeremy Segrott, from Cardiff University, emphasised the value and efficiency of involving parents in alcohol and drug education programmes for primary school pupils. By introducing Kids and Adults Together (KAT) – a pilot programme aimed at preventing the use of alcohol and drugs among pupils – Dr Segrott raised the importance of interactivity and community involvement in shaping values and behaviours. The KAT programme proved to be a reliable tool to engage parents and was well received as an approach to deliver alcohol and drug education amongst younger pupils.

The final group discussion brought forward some engaging topics and good ideas for potential future interventions.

Great focus was given to the role of parents in shaping pupils’ behaviours, by looking at different types of parenting skills, role modelling, family communication, and social norms around the use of alcohol and drugs.

The Kids and Adults Together project was recognised to be potentially adaptable to interventions with adolescent pupils, enhancing parental norms and challenging misconceptions around the acceptability of alcohol and drug use among teenagers.

Mentor is excited to be introducing a similar evidence-based programme, called Effekt, into Brighton-based schools,  in partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council.

We would like to thank our speakers and everyone who managed to attend this event, despite the watery weather!