The Government released its 2017 drug strategy today, with increased emphasis on preventative education, including the need to build ‘confidence, resilience and risk management skills’ through PSHE education in order to ‘prevent the range of risks young people face’ such as drug misuse, crime, exploitation and unhealthy relationships.
The strategy describes high-quality PSHE education as ‘at the heart of supporting young people to leave school prepared for life in modern Britain’ and warns against approaches such as scare tactics, mass media campaigns or knowledge-only approaches, which it describes as ‘least effective’ in preventing substance misuse. The report also encourages schools to avoid contribution from external classroom visitors where their input is not part of a wider evidence based prevention programme.
PSHE Association Chief Executive Jonathan Baggaley said:
“This strategy recognises that such a multifaceted issue requires a complex educational approach with PSHE education at its heart. High quality PSHE develops both the knowledge pupils need about drugs, and the attributes – such as confidence, resilience and risk management skills – that helps them to manage risky situations and avoid harm, while exploring related factors such as unhealthy relationships and exploitation. This strategy is another sign of the Government’s increased recognition of PSHE education’s importance, and another reason why high-quality PSHE should be universal, and therefore statutory on the school curriculum."