Alcohol Research UK have published the process evaluation and feasibility study of In:tuition, DrinkAware’s life skills programme.
There are some very interesting observations.
On the positive side the teachers and pupils clearly see the programme as being useful and engaging. The resources and tools were seen as being comprehensive and useful, and the flexibility around the on-line and off-line tools was also appreciated.
More challenging is that while the evaluators found that primary schools were more able to find the time to undertake the 10 lesson programme secondary schools really struggle.
Time for PSHE can be very limited and programmes crowded. Five of the 15 schools, including the 3 schools that piloted all 11 secondary lessons, did so with a small targeted group of pupils, which offered more flexibility. Of the 10 schools that piloted secondary lessons within their timetabled PSHE education programme none completed all the lessons and only 3 schools used most of them.
As you might imagine this is something of a challenge for those of us who believe in evidence based programmes – given that those that have shown longer term effects all come in at this sort of length or longer.
Another worry is the thought that there is some evidence that doing bits of programmes may have iatrogenic effects – i.e. lead young people to be more likely to drink or take drugs.
I also see that one of the recommendations from the evaluation is to reduce the length of the programme. I think this is clearly something that meets the needs of schools, the question will be whether it would impact on the public health outcomes that DrinkAware are hoping the programme might have.