Media Statement – Welcome for Gordon Brown?s commitment to drug education

Media Statement – Welcome for Gordon Brown?s commitment to drug education

30/05/2007

Reacting to Gordon Brown?s comments that drug education in primary schools should be central to the next drug strategy, Eric Carlin, Chair of the Drug Education Forum, said:

We welcome what Gordon Brown is saying about the importance of drug education in primary schools.ÿ Children, even young children, need to understand about the potential harm that drugs can do.

It is important that schools work with children to understand what they already know about drugs and that drug education builds on that knowledge.ÿ Evidence suggests that enabling children to be active participants in their learning helps them become effective and self-confident decision makers.

We strongly believe that drug education has to be part of the curriculum for children and young people for the whole period they are in education.ÿ As children grow up their experiences change the way they view the risks associated with drugs.ÿ Schools and youth services need to continue to talk to young people about the issues they face with both legal and illegal drugs.

Last year the Drug Education Forum produced the report, Involving Children and Young People in Drug Education, which has examples of primary schools delivering interactive drug education.

Case studies from Involving Children and Young People in Drug Education report:

  • Mary Magdalene Primary School (County Durham) ran a two-day intensive drug education programme, ?What?s Going On?? with Key Stage 2 pupils. Following a ground rules session, teachers carried out a needs analysis. This was followed by a ?ladder of risk? exercise designed to evaluate the knowledge base of pupils and practice risk analysis. Pupils? were then given scenarios to work on to assess the risk in terms of the drugs involved, the situation and the people present. They then developed these scenarios into drama sketches which were filmed, made into a DVD and made available to other schools in the county to use prompt discussion around drugs.
  • Crescent Primary School (Nottinghamshire) followed the ?On Track? programme of eight lessons with a range of Key Stage 1 classes. ?On Track? is a life skills programme for 6 and 7 year olds in Primary Schools, providing them with the confidence, knowledge and responsibility to be healthy and sure about what they do and what they know, whilst growing up in a drug using world. The first session was a needs analysis session designed to find out what knowledge, attitudes and skills the children already had about drugs. This was followed by basic risk assessment strategies, the notion that drugs change the body?s state, the fact that all medicines are drugs but not all drugs are medicines and dealing with pressure to take drugs. Finally the first research session was repeated to evaluate how far the children?s knowledge, attitudes and skills had developed.

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