Alcohol and Drug Education and
Prevention Information Service
Helping schools and practitioners support
children and young people
ADEPIS: Who we are
funded by the Department for Education
run by Mentor, in partnership with DrugScope and
supporting secondary schools, primary schools, FE
Colleges and anyone working in formal or informal
settings with children and young people.
Drug and alcohol education in schools
Research to inform our work with schools
Carried out by the PSHE Association in June
Teachers from 288 schools across England
responded to an online questionnaire
Follow-up telephone interviews with 20 of
Drug and alcohol education provision remains
Primary schools have less access to support and
resources, but secondary schools also identify unmet
Assessment and evaluation, continuity in learning
and quality assurance of resources and external
support remain weaker areas.
While there are examples of excellent drug and
alcohol education teaching, many teachers
highlighted a lack of curriculum time, constraints on
in finance for resources and training, and delivery by
Quality standards for drug education
For schools and external drug educators
working in schools
Aims of the standards
To help schools assess their own practice, in and
outside the classroom, and make the case for
additional support and resources.
To help external providers of drug education raise
their own standards and convey their aims, practice
and approach to schools.
To help schools have clearer expectations of external
contributors, choose those that which deliver to a
high standard and best meet their needs, and work
more effectively with them.
What evidence are they based on?
‘Prevention science’: for example programmes such
as ‘Life Skills Training’ and ‘Unplugged’ have been
tested in randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and
found to result in measurable reductions in
alcohol, tobacco and cannabis use.
Their elements and overall
approach (based on ‘social
influences’) have a lot in
common with what experts
in PSHE education would
describe as best practice.
Key resources we drew on:
Drug Education Forum: Principles of good drug education and
principles for supporting school drug education
EMCDDA (2011) European Drug Prevention Quality
DfES (2004) Drugs: Guidance for Schools.
PSHE Association guidance including online CPD
SCODA (1999) The Right Approach: Quality standards in drug
Ofsted subject-specific guidance on PSHE
Guidance on safeguarding, e.g. www.safenetwork.org.uk
Guidelines for on staff and volunteer management
A clear model of good drug education
needs-led and age-appropriate, putting the pupil at the
a two-way, interactive process of learning;
enabling pupils to explore their own and other people’s
attitudes and values;
challenging misperceptions about the prevalence and
acceptability of drug use among peers; and
developing pupils’ personal and social skills to manage
risk, solve problems and communicate effectively.
... it is not yet universally delivered
“I am 16 years of age;
colouring pictures of
smiley face Ecstasy
tablets will not make
me less inclined to
“The year 11s are getting the same boring
drugs PowerPoint as the year 7s...”
Mentor Youth London, 2012
Not yet good enough: PSHE education in schools
There is a close correlation between being a good
school overall and good PSHE education.
Significant weaknesses were identified, in particular
in staff training and support, and assessment,
monitoring and evaluation.
Where external contributors were used, in over half
of the schools there was no formal evaluation of the
impact on pupils’ learning or follow-up of activities.
These findings are supported by our mapping research.
Why do we think yet another set of
documents will help?
We want to create something which is rigorous in
terms of quality, but easy to use in self-assessment.
We want to create a shared understanding across
schools and external providers of drug education, to
promote better joint working and raise standards.
We are opening the standards up to wide
consultation to make them as user-friendly as
Overlapping sets of standards
Schools External providers
Introduction and guidance on using standards
Standards – comprising an introduction; the
standards; a glossary; resources for further reading
Examples of how standards might be evidenced
Self assessment form:
Standard Not met/ Partially
met / Fully met
Current position Actions to take
Evidencing the standards
“Yes, we have this policy in place”
We asked x, they told us we do this well
We identified a problem; took this action; the result
We identified a problem; and are in the process of
doing this to address it...
We use x external provider, training...
School context for effective drug education (1)
Clear leadership support for drug education and prevention.
A written drug policy sets out the school’s approach to
incident management, drug education and support.
Drug education is carefully planned and ongoing assessment,
monitoring and evaluation ensures that it meets pupils’
Teachers involved in delivering drug education are skilled and
confident, with access to high quality training and support.
School context for effective drug education (2)
All staff are confident about dealing with drug and alcohol-
There are clear and effective processes for supporting pupils
with additional needs relating to drugs and alcohol and
referring them to external services where appropriate.
Parents and carers are aware of the school’s approach to
drugs and alcohol and have opportunities to be actively
Delivering effective drug education
Clear and relevant learning objectives and learning outcomes
are set and assessed.
Learning is interactive.
Positive social norms are reinforced.
Resources are appropriate for their audience, providing
accurate and relevant information.
Clear strategies are in place to ensure a safe classroom
Approaches are evaluated for effectiveness
Staff policies and safeguarding (1)
HR policies are clearly set out and in line with relevant
Volunteers receive a clear volunteer agreement or role
Rules regarding the involvement of staff or volunteers with
previous or current problems, including drug or alcohol misuse,
are clearly set out.
The staff competencies required for successful programme
delivery are clearly set out and used as a basis for recruitment
and staff development.
Safe recruitment processes for staff and volunteers
Staff policies and safeguarding (2)
New staff and volunteers are well supported and monitored.
There is effective support and supervision for all staff and
The organisation has a clear policy on safeguarding
As part of the agreement to work with any school there is a
clear understanding of the school’s policies on safeguarding,
confidentiality and disclosure and other relevant information.
It is clear to schools how they can feed back comments or
Questions for discussion:
Are the standards set at an
appropriate level: rigorous
enough to enable high quality
drug education provision, but
Will they be usable in
practice? Are the example
answers useful? What could
be done to make them more