A Cross Party Inquiry into Unplanned Pregnancy led by Amber Rudd MP has called for alcohol and drug education to be included in sex and relationships education.
The government should take decisive action and make Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) statutory. This will allow for a more consistent and comprehensive programme to be implemented across the country which has clear guidelines for schools to follow. Adopting a holistic approach, SRE should include relationship counselling and education on alcohol and substance misuse. Whilst standardisation is crucial to ensure equality of access, schools should be given flexibility in how they deliver their Personal Social Health and Economic Education (PSHE) curriculum. For example, Relationship Education could be incorporated as part of Citizenship within PSHE, which is already compulsory.
We’re clear about the links between drug prevention and better sexual health and which is why we’ve consistently called for schools to deliver drug education as part of PSHE where these issues can be dealt with in a holistic manner.
I’m not sure that subsuming drug and alcohol education into SRE would however be a step forward. What would be useful is to look at the work that Dr Dan Hale did while he was at the LSE where he developed an evidence based curriculum that could be delivered in an hour a week.
The LSE and How to Thrive have recently been awarded £687,000 to test the curriculum in an Randomised Control Trial across 30 schools and will looking at whether there is an impact on secondary school pupils’ academic achievement.
The programme is as follows:
- Year 7 – Penn Resilience Programme (18); Academic Possible Selves (5); Life Skills Training (12)
- Year 8 – Parents Under Construction (14); Media Smart (Body image) (8); Media Ready (Substances) (7) Academic Possible Selves (5);
- Year 9 – Friends for Life (9); Academic Possible Selves (5); Science of Mental Illness (5); Safer Choices (10); School Health and Alcohol Harm Reduction Project (SHAHRP) (6)
- Year 10 – MoodGym (4); Relationship Smarts (13); Safer Choices (10); SHAHRP (6)