LONDON, 21 NOVEMBER 2017 — Today, the charity Mentor UK launch their Quality Mark for Alcohol and Drugs Education.
Mentor UK is the UK’s leading charity working to prevent the misuse of alcohol and drugs among children and young people. The developmental Quality Standards for schools and practitioners aim to improve the quality of alcohol and drug education and prevention in England.
The launch follows the publication earlier this month of the Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use report which showed 15% of pupils said they had taken drugs in the last year, up from 10% in 2014.
Public Health England (PHE) supports the Quality Mark and share Mentor’s ambition to see improved drugs and alcohol education provision in schools. PHE and the Home Office already fund Mentor-ADEPIS to support the implementation of quality and evidence-based alcohol and drug education and prevention.
The website gives access to two different self-assessment frameworks: one for schools and a second for practitioners.
To achieve the Quality Mark any school (it is a similar process for practitioners) would need to ensure:
- Alcohol and drug education is comprehensively covered, using local and school level data and reinforcing positive social norms.
- Learning about risk taking behaviours is included in programme, ensuring pupils have the skills to assess and respond to risk.
- A planned, spiral PSHE education programme builds upon themes, is well resourced, based on pupils’ need and supported by staff CPD.
In addition, any alcohol and drug education provider seeking the Quality Mark would have to demonstrate they are meeting a set of criteria developed on the basis of the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards and the UNODC International Standards on Drug Use Prevention.
Mentor’s Quality Standards for schools and practitioners are very much in line with National Drug Strategy 2017 which stresses the importance of reducing demand through: increased focus on prevention, universal approach across the life-course, committed to supporting schools to build children and young people’s confidence and resilience and supporting the development of dedicated alcohol and drugs education resources.
Mentor’s Head of Programmes, Jamila Boughelaf, said, “Since the development of the Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Information Service (ADEPIS), we have understood how vital quality standards are to ensure quality of delivery. It is quite evident an increasing number of schools and practitioners really want to improve and deliver quality services, however they have lacked the essential structural support to guide them toward this goal. So we saw the opportunity to establish a developmental structure/tool to support schools and practitioners by implementing the ADEPIS quality standards. The website is the result of that hard work and will form another important constituent part in helping improve drugs and alcohol education.”
Rosanna O’Connor, Director Alcohol, Drugs & Tobacco at PHE, said, “The recent reported rise in young people using drugs is concerning, though it is too early to say if it’s a long term trend. We know that building young people’s knowledge, skills and resilience to make better and safer choices around alcohol and drugs is the best approach to help influence their attitudes and behaviour.
“The Quality Mark is a positive step towards ensuring all schools provide drug and alcohol education that’s fit for purpose. I would encourage all local areas to support their schools to meet these criteria and take an approach to prevention that covers the whole school environment.”
Notes for Editors
1) Mentor UK is the UK’s leading charity working to prevent the misuse of alcohol and drugs among children and young people. We run evidence-based programmes in a variety of settings for different groups of young people. Mentor developed the Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Information Service (ADEPIS), the leading source of alcohol and drug education resources for schools, and now maintains the CAYT repository of impact studies of evidence-based programmes.
2) Schools and practitioners can register on the website at: forms.mentor-adepis.org
3) The Government’s latest report on Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England, published 2 November, showed “18% of pupils said that they had taken drugs in the last year. Excluding new psychoactive substances and nitrous oxide (newly added to the drug prevalence measure in 2016), then 15% said they had taken drugs in the last year, up from 10% in 2014.”
4) The Government’s new national drugs strategy places prevention as a key pillar in reducing demand for drugs, “we must act at the earliest opportunity to prevent people taking drugs in the first place and prevent escalation to more harmful use.”
5) If you wish to interview Mentor Head of Programmes Jamila Boughelaf, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07580 469818 or Jeremy Sare on 07747 727993.