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This section supports school staff in managing wider related issues and points to additional sources of support.
School staff are best placed to decide on the most appropriate response to tackling drugs within their school. This is most effective when:
Schools should ensure that pupils have access to and knowledge of up-to-date information on sources of help (Annex B). This includes local and national helplines (including FRANK for drugs, NHS Smoking Services for tobacco and Drinkline for alcohol), youth and community services and drug services. These sources can be used as part of, or in addition to, the school’s own drug and alcohol education.
If a pupil is suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol on school premises, the school must prioritise the safety of the young person and those around them. If necessary it should be dealt with as a medical emergency, administering first aid and summoning appropriate support.
Depending on the circumstances, parents or the police may need to be contacted. If the child is felt to be at risk the safeguarding policy will come into effect and social services may need to be contacted.
When evaluating the behaviour and safety of pupils under the new Ofsted inspection framework, inspectors will consider pupils’ ability to assess and manage risk appropriately and to keep themselves safe. In supplementary PSHE guidance for subject survey visits, pupils awareness of the dangers of substance misuse is included in the criteria for inspectors when grading the quality of PSHE delivery.
Any response to drug-related incidents needs to balance the needs of the individual pupils concerned with the wider school community. In deciding what action to take schools should follow their own disciplinary procedures.
Exclusion should not be the automatic response to a drug incident and permanent exclusion should only be used in serious cases. More detail on excluding pupils can be found in the statutory guidance on exclusion.
Drug use can be a symptom of other problems and schools should be ready to involve or refer pupils to other services when needed. It is important that schools are aware of the relevant youth and family support services available in their local area.
Sources of advice and local services should be listed in the school drug policy for reference. Some LAs may also provide lists of sources of support for schools. The senior member of staff responsible for drugs should have established relationships with local agencies to understand what support is available.
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This is statutory guidance relating to school exclusions which schools and local authorities should follow from September 2012.
Information and advice for young people about the risks of illegal drugs. Also support for parents and carers, helping to give them the skills and confidence to communicate with their children about drugs. 24-hour helpline.
Interactive tools, local support services and other information to help people manage their drinking.
Advice, information and support on giving up smoking, including NHS smoking helpline.