Improving alcohol and drug prevention in schools

Quality standards for alcohol and drug education

Quality standards which schools can use for alcohol and drug education are available in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The UK has none.

Mentor is campaigning to improve the quality of alcohol and drug prevention in schools in order to better support teachers, prepare young people for the challenges they will face as they grow up, and bolster the campaign for statutory PSHE.

Why Mentor is campaigning for quality standards

Mentor believes alcohol and drug education in schools is vital to help ensure young people have the knowledge, skills and attitudes to avoid the damage these substances can do, yet alcohol and drug education remains a weaker aspect of the curriculum. Pupils have higher expectations of what should be delivered, and teachers regularly ask for national resources and guidance.

The government should develop national level Quality Standards for all contributors to drug education in schools and college.

The Advisory Group on Drug and Alcohol Education (2008)

Alcohol and drug education is not a compulsory subject in schools, yet:

  • 60% of schools say they teach drug education once or less a year;
  • 59% of young people say they can’t remember having a drug education lesson in the last year;
  • 63% of 11 to 15 year olds say they find teachers a helpful source of information about drugs;
  • 96% of young people said they found drug education helpful in thinking about the risks associated with taking drugs.

Mentor believes it is vital to deliver effective, evidence-based prevention programmes within schools and will continue to work with like-minded organisations to campaign for national quality standards for alcohol and drug education.

We also believe that the development of national quality standards will strengthen the case for making PSHE a statutory part of the school curriculum in England, as there will be greater incentive for widespread PSHE delivery if there is greater consistency in the quality of the education provided.

If you would like to contribute to this campaign, contact us at