Drug Education; an entitlement for all
In December 2007, as part of the Children?s Plan, the government committed itself to:
examine the effectiveness of current delivery arrangements for all drugs education ? including alcohol ? and act to strengthen them if necessary.
The Drug Education Forum supported the process by acting as the secretariat to the advisory group which undertook the review.
The advisory group drew in policy specialists from inside and outside of government, teachers and young people and included a number of Drug Education Forum members.
Their report made recommendations to support parents, improve drug education in schools, colleges and other education settings, increase the training available to teachers, and provide early interventions for children and young people at risk of developing problems.ÿ
There were three key recommendations:
- Increase parents? and carers? knowledge and skills about drug and alcohol education and prevention enabling them to better inform and protect their children;
- Improve the quality of drug and alcohol education by making PSHE a statutory subject – to enable schools and colleges to promote well-being effectively, and to improve the quality of training for PSHE teachers; and
- Improve identification and support for young people vulnerable to drug misuse in schools, colleges and non-formal settings.
Launching the Advisory Group’s report Eric Carlin, Chair of the Drug Education Forum, said:
The problems that drugs and alcohol cause are too important for drug education to be an optional subject for parents or schools.
The Drug Education Forum has been championing the importance of supporting parents for many years. This can be done by ensuring that parents have the right information and that every child and young person receives high quality drug and alcohol education from trained professionals.
The review and the government?s response offer a significant opportunity to reduce the harm to children, young people and their families from drug and alcohol problems.
The government’s response promised action across all the of the recommendations made by the advisory group and in particular highlighted they:
- will ensure that all parents have access to accurate information and guidance about the risks to young people of drugs and alcohol through, amongst other things, our FRANK campaign and the new campaign on youth drinking;
- will improve the quality of drug and alcohol education by issuing new guidance, which will also cover the early identification of those beginning to experience problems; and
- have asked Sir Alasdair MacDonald, Head Teacher of Morpeth Secondary School in Tower Hamlets, to conduct an independent review of how the decision to give PSHE statutory status can be translated into a practicable way forward, to help improve young people?s knowledge and skills, enabling them to enjoy safe, healthy, productive and responsible lives.
Children?s Minister Baroness Delyth Morgan said:
This action fits with our vision of the 21st Century School, which provide a rounded education for children and Ofsted?s intention to create wellbeing indicators, which will be included in the School Report Cards we announced last week.
Ultimately this will help the drive to reduce teenage pregnancy, STIs, drug abuse and binge drinking ? as well as equipping young people with a range of essential life skills.
Below are some slides that summarise the recommendations made to the government and the actions the government have committed to as a result of the review.