A common sense approach to drugs education.

Beatrix Potter School Drug Policy

At Beatrix Potter School, we aim to equip children with the knowledge, understanding and skills that enable them to make the sort of choices that lead to a healthy lifestyle.  Our drugs education programme has the primary objective of helping children to become more confident and responsible young people.  We teach children about the dangers to health posed by drug taking, and we aim to equip them with the social skills that enable them to make informed moral and social decisions in relation to drugs in society.  Our policy has areas that are unlikely to occur in a primary setting, but they are included as useful information for parents and visitors.  For useful advice go to:  http://www.drugwatch.com/health/children/

Aims

  • To clarify the legal requirements and responsibilities of the school.
  • To reinforce and safeguard the health and safety of students and others who use the school.
  • To clarify the school’s approach to drugs for all staff, students, governors, parents/carers, external agencies and the wider community.
  • To give guidance on developing, implementing and monitoring the drug education programme.
  • To explore attitudes and develop skills in making decisions about drugs.
  • To have a clear and agreed understanding within the school community about the implications and possible consequences of drug use.
  • To contribute towards establishing an environment in which the school is free from the misuse of any drugs.

Definition

The definition of a drug given by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is: A substance people take to change the way they feel, think or behave.  Within this definition fall legal substances as tobacco, alcohol, prescribed medication and solvents, together with illegal substances such as cannabis, amphetamines and ecstasy.

Context and relationship to other policies

This policy should be considered in conjunction with following school policies: PSHE, medicine, health and safety, medicine management and child protection and confidentiality.

Applicability

This policy applies to all staff, students, parents/carers, governors and partner agencies working in the school.  It includes journeys to and from school in school uniform and residential visits.  Students must not bring controlled drugs, cigarettes or alcohol onto the school site at any time.

Staff with key responsibility for drugs

Management of drug related issues in school: Mr S. Neale, Ms D. Lawrence

Drugs Education Co-ordinator: Ms. S. Palmer

If any member of staff has concerns about any drug related incident then they should immediately inform a member of the Senior Leadership Team.

Drug education

Beatrix Potter school delivers a balanced curriculum which:

  • Promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of students at the school and of society
  • Prepares students at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.

Drug education is a major component of drug prevention and is an important aspect of the school curriculum.  Its aim is to provide opportunities for students to develop their knowledge, skills, attitudes and understanding about drugs and appreciate the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, relating this to their own and others’ actions.

The aims of drug education are to:

  1. Increase students’ knowledge and understanding and clarify misconceptions about:
  • the short- and long-term effects and risks of drugs
  • the rules and laws relating to drugs
  • the impact of drugs on individuals, families and communities
  • the prevalence and acceptability of drug use among peers
  • the complex moral, social, emotional and political issues surrounding drugs
  1. Develop students’ personal and social skills to make informed decisions and keep themselves safe and healthy, including:
  • assessing, avoiding and managing risk
  • communicating effectively
  • resisting pressures
  • finding information, help and advice
  • devising problem-solving and coping strategies
  • developing self-awareness and self-esteem
  1. Enable students to explore their own and other peoples’ attitudes towards drugs, drug use and drug users, including challenging stereotypes, and exploring media and social influences.

Drug education is delivered through a well-planned cross-curricular program, using units of work on Drug, alcohol and tobacco education, assemblies and PSHE, drama and science lessons.  In Year 6, the Little Fish Company visits the school to deliver a programme of work which includes a performance, a workshop and follow up activities.

Teachers may need to focus more on developing students’ confidence and skills to manage situations, which require making decisions about drugs.  This may include developing competence to manage medicines responsibly, staying safe and understanding and managing feelings.  Teachers should pay particular attention to enabling students to seek help and support when they need it.

Methodology and Resources

  • Drug education is delivered within a safe, secure and supportive learning environment.
  • Ground rules are set out, and teachers and students right to privacy is respected.  Boundaries of discussions are made clear.
  • Group agreements are made to help to foster mutual respect and an environment in which students feel comfortable and ready to listen to and discuss each other’s opinions.
  • Distancing techniques can be adopted through role-play/anonymous question boxes.
  • Staff are advised to sometimes answer difficult questions on an individual basis.
  • A variety of teaching techniques and activities will be used, including: circle time, drama, role-play, discussions, draw and write activities, structured games, creative writing, debates and questionnaires.
  • External contributors include the Police, NSPCC Childline, FRANK and the Samaritans.

Staff support and training

The launch of this policy involved whole staff continued professional development training and subsequent new staff will be provided with training as part of the New Staff Induction Programme.  Advice is also provided within the staff handbook and PSHE training takes place as and when needed.

Monitoring and reviewing

The teaching of drug education will be monitored and reviewed via the subjects within which it is taught.  This will be completed through the school monitoring policy.

Management of Drugs at School

The school recognises that there are instances where other non-controlled drugs may legitimately be in school.

Medicine

Some students may require medicines that have been prescribed for their medical condition during the school day.  Staffing, administration, storage and record keeping procedures are all clearly set out in the medication and first aid policy.  The medicines policy also sets out the circumstances in which a student may take non-prescribed/over-the-counter medicines, such as those providing relief from period pains or hay fever.  School staff do not give non-prescribed medication to students unless supplied with written authorisation by parent/carer.Volatile substances

Some solvents or hazardous chemicals are legitimately used by school staff or students.  These substances are stored securely (in line with COSHH regulations) and managed to prevent inappropriate access or use.  Arrangements are set out in the school’s health and safety policy.

Alcohol

Use and consumption of alcohol at school can only be authorised by the Head teacher.   In keeping with our duty of care, employees are not permitted to consume alcohol during the school day, or at any time when they will be subsequently supervising children.  The school recognises that there may be occasions when a member of staff may experience difficulties in relation to alcohol misuse outside of school.  Staff are encouraged to discuss this with line mangers so that support can be put in place.

Tobacco

In keeping with Wandsworth Borough Council policy, Beatrix Potter School is a non-smoking site.

Searches

Although we believe that it is unlikely that pupils at Beatrix Potter will possess drugs in school, it is important that staff are clear about what they should do if such a situation did arise.  The guidelines below outline what procedure should be followed.   The school will seek consent and ensure that a second adult witness is present.  If this is refused, they will consider whether to call the police.  Searches will be conducted in such a way as to minimise potential embarrassment or distress.  When a person is suspected of concealing illegal or other unauthorised drugs staff will not carry out a personal search; this includes the searching of outer clothing and inside pockets.  Every effort will be made to persuade the person to hand over voluntarily any drugs, in the presence of a second adult witness.  Where the individual refuses and the drug is believed to be illegal, and the school wishes to proceed along formal lines, then the police will be called.

Staff may search school property, for example, students’ lockers or desks if they believe drugs to be stored there.  Prior consent will be sought, however individuals will be made aware that if consent is refused the school may proceed with a search.  Where consent is refused, the school will balance the likelihood that an offence has been committed against the risk of infringing the individual’s privacy without just cause.   The school will not search personal property without consent.  If the school wishes to search personal property, including students’ property stored within school property, for example a bag or pencil case within a locker, they will ask for consent.  Where consent is refused they will consider, in the case of students, notifying parents/carers, who may persuade their child to give consent or if they wish to proceed along formal lines calling the police.   After any search involving students, parents/carers will normally be contacted by the school, regardless of whether the result of the search is positive or negative.

Seizure of drugs

The law permits school staff to take temporary possession of a substance suspected of being an illegal drug for the purposes of preventing an offence from being committed or continued in relation to that drug providing that all reasonable steps are taken to destroy the drug or deliver it to a person lawfully entitled to take custody of it.

In taking temporary possession and disposing of suspected illegal drugs staff will:

  • Ensure that a second adult witness is present throughout
  • Seal the sample in a plastic bag and include details of the date and time of the seizure/find and witness present.
  • Store it in school safe
  • Without delay notify the police, who will be asked to collect it and then store or dispose of it. The law does not require a school to divulge to the police the name of the student from whom the drugs were taken but in the case of an illegal drug will normally do so.
  • Liaison will take place to ensure the safe disposal of any substances.
  • Where a student is identified the police will be required to follow set internal procedures
  • Staff will record full details of the incident, including notes of any discussions with the students.  These should include date, time place and people present.  The police incident reference number should also be included.

If formal action is to be taken against a student, the police will make arrangements for them to attend a local police station accompanied by an appropriate adult for interview.  Only in exceptional circumstances should arrest or interviews take place at school.  An appropriate adult should always be present during interviews, preferably a parent/carer or duty social worker.

Legal Drugs

The police will not always necessarily be involved in incidents involving legal drugs, but the school will inform trading standards or police about the inappropriate sale or supply of tobacco, alcohol or volatile substances to students in the local area.

Alcohol and tobacco

Parents/carers will be informed and informed that the alcohol/tobacco has been disposed of.  In cases where a disciplinary proceeding is necessary, items will be disposed of, once this has taken place.

Volatile substances

Given the level of danger posed by volatile substances, the school will arrange for their safe disposal.

Medicines

Parents/carers will be informed and will be asked to collect and dispose of unused or date-expired medicines.  Further details are outlined in the medicines policy

Disposal of drug paraphernalia

Needles or syringes found on school premises will be placed in a sturdy, secure container, using gloves.  Used needles and syringes will be disposed of appropriately and not put in domestic waste.

Police contact

Contact details are available from the school office.  If they are unavailable, a message should be left to contact the school and in the case of controlled drugs, Tooting Police Station should then be telephoned.

Referral and external support

The head teacher is responsible for referral to external agencies.  Pupils are made aware of the various internal and external support structures via PSHE sessions.

Confidentiality

Teachers cannot and should not promise total confidentiality.  The boundaries of confidentiality should be made clear to students.  If a student discloses information which is sensitive, not generally known, and which the student asks not to be passed on, it should be discussed with a member of Senior Leadership Team.  The request will be honoured unless this is unavoidable in order for teachers to fulfil their professional responsibilities in relation to:

  • Child protection
  • Co-operating with a police investigation
  • Referral to external services
  • Every effort will be made to secure the student’s agreement to the way in which the school intends to use any sensitive information.

It may be necessary to invoke local child protection procedures if a student’s safety is under threat.  It will be only in exceptional circumstances that sensitive information is passed on against a student’s wishes, and even then, the school will inform the student first and endeavour to explain why this needs to happen.  These exceptions are defined by a moral or professional duty to act:

  • Where there is a child protection issue
  • Where a life is in danger.

Involvement of parents/carers/visitors

In any incident involving illegal and other unauthorised drugs the school will normally involve the child’s parents/carers and explain how they intend to respond to the incident and to the student’s needs.  Where the school suspects that to do this might put the child’s safety at risk or if there is any other cause for concern for the child’s safety at home, then the school will exercise caution when considering involving parents/carers.  In any situation where a student may need protection from the possibility of abuse, the school’s child protection co-ordinator should be consulted and local child protection procedures followed.

Parents/carers are encouraged to approach the school if they are concerned about any issue related to drugs and their child and the school will refer parents/carers to other sources of help, for example, specialist drug agencies or family support groups, as required.

If parents/carers are suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol on school premises, staff should attempt to maintain a calm atmosphere and call for a second adult, if necessary. On occasion, a teacher may have concerns about discharging a student into the care of a parent/carer.  In such instances, the school will discuss with the parent/carer if alternative arrangements could be made, for example asking another parent/carer to accompany the child home

The role of governors

The school governors will review this policy in line with the review policy timetable.  They will also be involved in disciplinary proceedings as and when necessary.

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