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What works for schools

What does effective school drug education look like?

A good place to start is The principles of good drug education – a summary of the principles that lie at the heart of good practice. The presentation below also sets out some of the issues.

What else do schools need to do?

Schools can help safeguard pupils from drug and alcohol harms:

  • by drug education that helps equip pupils with the knowledge and skills they need;
  • by clear school rules and effective responses to drug incidents;
  • by supporting pupils at risk of drug-related harm, and those with drug or alcohol misuse in their family; and
  • by raising pupils’ academic achievement and attachment to school – major protective factors

The latest advice from Government is the 2012 Department for Education and ACPO Drug Advice for Schools. Schools are advised that as a minimum, there should be:

  • early access to support for pupils with drug or alcohol issues (or affected by family use);
  • a written drugs policy available to all staff; and
  • a senior member of staff with responsibility for policy and liaising with the local police and support services.

It is also made clear that a school’s response to drugs and alcohol is most effective when:

  • it is supported by the whole school community;
  • drug education is part of a well-planned programme of PSHE education delivered in a supportive environment, where pupils are aware of the school rules, feel able to engage in open discussion and feel confident about asking for help if necessary; and
  • staff have access to high quality training and support.

Assess your school’s policies

See: Reviewing your drug and alcohol policy: a toolkit for schools and other resources on this website.

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