In September, at their seminar in Liverpool Mentor-Adepis launched a consultation on a new set of quality standards for drug and alcohol education. They have also produced a checklist that schools can use when working with visitors who support the delivery of drug and alcohol education.
The intention is to provide practical tools that schools and others can use to assess their drug and alcohol education and prevention, and to help them plan to further protect pupils from the harms associated with drug and alcohol misuse. A consultation period on the standards will run until the end of November.
The draft standards are informed by research that the PSHE Association carried out earlier this year, which identified a number of gaps in drug and alcohol education provision. The findings from this research were also launched at the seminar.
The survey of 288 PSHE teachers from across England reveals that while there is excellent practice, these issues struggle to find time in many schools’ timetables. Another clear message from the field is that trustworthy and accessible classroom resources are something that teachers would find valuable. 81% of respondents said they would like more resources for drugs and alcohol, although the Alcohol Education Trust is highlighted in the report as an excellent source for alcohol for secondary schools: “The Alcohol Education Trust is brilliant and provides excellent and relevant resources which have proved to be very successful in PSHE lessons”.
Teachers from primary and secondary schools expressed different needs, with primary school teachers looking for resources on particular substances, and secondary schools looking to link the risks of substance misuse with other areas of risk, especially the link between alcohol misuse and mental health.
Teachers were clear where they currently look for support, with three fifths (60%) saying that they continue to receive advice and support through the local authority and four in five secondary school teachers using the FRANK website as a resource for their teaching.
Mentor-Adepis hope that the standards that they are producing and the other resources that can be found on their website help teachers, schools and those that support the delivery of drug and alcohol education to reflect on and improve their practice.