Drugs Policy


Bishop Cornish is a caring school which is committed to a broad, balanced curriculum and to meeting the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical needs of every child.

We are a Church of England school, with a strong commitment to the teaching of Christianity whilst supporting a multi-faith approach to the curriculum. We recognise and value the linguistic and cultural diversity, which exists, in our school.

The Christian ethos of the school is reflected in the relaxed, positive atmosphere. We believe that effective learning will take place when children can work in a calm, purposeful and stimulating environment. We seek to achieve high academic standards, as well as nurturing children’s social development.

Our overall aim is to enable each child to develop his/her full potential, irrespective of age or ability. Children are taught individually, in groups and as a class. We aim to allow children to become independent and responsible for their own learning.

Links to other policies

This policy should be read in conjunction with the PSHE and Citizenship policy and the following related policies; Health and Safety, Behaviour, Child Protection and Equal Opportunities

Definition of drugs

The definition of drugs used in this policy is the definition given by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: “A substance people take to change the way they feel, think or behave”. This is also used by the DCSF and Cornwall LA.

This refers to all drugs:

* Legal drugs, including alcohol and tobacco.
* Over the counter and prescription medicines
* Illegal drugs (those controlled by the Misuse of drugs Act 1971) including ecstasy, cannabis, crack/cocaine, heroin and LSD
* and other drugs such as anabolic steroids, volatile substances (solvents), Ketamine and Khat.

Definitions of other key words

Drug use describes any drug taking. Any drug use can potentially lead to harm, including through intoxication, breach of the law or school rules, or future health problems.

Drug misuse is drug taking which leads to social, psychological, physical or legal problems through intoxication, regular excessive consumption and/or dependence.

We believe that drugs play a part in the lives of every one of us and recognise that drug use and misuse can have a serious effect on health, well being and academic achievement. We have a crucial role to play in drug prevention and education.

Primary aged children need to be protected from the harm that drugs can cause and it is our responsibility to give them the knowledge and skills to be able to be healthy and keep safe, and to say no.

We take a positive and proactive approach to the issue of drugs and this policy aims to:

* Give a clear view on the use of drugs in school.
* Provide information so that everyone is clear about the procedures should an incident occur and the approach taken by the school.
* Give information about what is taught, how it is taught
* Give guidance to teachers, support staff and visitors about drug education

Give guidance on the administration of medicines

Drug education

Aims of drug education

To give pupils information about drugs and help them develop the skills and attitudes to make healthy and safe decisions about drug use.

To achieve this, our drug education programme will help pupils:

* gain knowledge and understanding about the effects and risks and dangers of drugs and correct myths and misunderstandings
* develop skills to make informed decisions, including communication, self awareness, negotiation, finding information, help and advice, helping others and managing situations involving drugs
* develop skills to manage situations involving drugs including assessing and avoiding risks, assertiveness and refusal skills and helping others

What is taught

Drug education focuses on knowledge and understanding, skills and attitudes. The teaching programme ensures that there is progression from the Foundation Stage to Year 6 with topics and issues being included which are appropriate to the age and maturity of pupils.

Foundation Stage and Key Stage1 focuses on medicines and how to be safe, being ill and getting better, being safe with household substances and risks.

Key Stage 2 focuses on effects and risks of smoking, alcohol and drug use as well as resisting pressure to do wrong and making safe decisions.

The main topics cover

* the statutory elements of the Science National Curriculum
* aspects of the non-statutory framework for PSHE and Citizenship.

Where it is taught in the curriculum

Drug education is taught mainly through PSHE and Citizenship and through relevant topics in science e.g. My Body. Drug education is also delivered through opportunities in Literacy and science.

How it is taught (including involving outside contributors)

A wide range of active teaching methods are used that enable pupils to learn skills, discuss their views, explore their own and other peoples’ attitudes and values as well as learn knowledge, practice skills to cope with drug-related situations and engage actively in their own learning. Such activities include role play, discussions, debates, case studies, quizzes, research and games. Pupils work individually, in pairs, in small groups and with the whole class, mixing up so that they experience working with lots of different pupils in the class, as well as in friendship groups.

All classes establish clear ground rules to ensure that pupils discuss opinions with respect and listen to one another as well as ensuring that pupils and teachers do not disclose personal information.

Drug education is taught by the class teacher and sometimes involves the school nurse, the Police or other professionals.

How pupils’ learning is assessed

Pupils’ progress in drug education is assessed as part of PSHE and Citizenship assessment and Science assessment. Pupils’ knowledge, attitudes and skills are assessed through a range of methods including end of topic self assessment and teacher assessment.

Training and support for staff

All staff who teach drug education participate in PSHE and Citizenship training and have opportunities to update their knowledge and develop their skills through a range of continuing professional development activities including; INSET, staff meetings, team teaching, observing other teachers, on-going support from other teachers, and trialling new resources. We take advantage of the support, advice and training provided by Cornwall LA and other local organisations.

Information and teaching strategies gained from training are shared with other staff through staff meetings and INSET.

Management of drugs in school

School’s view about the use of drugs

This school does not permit the possession, use or supply of any illegal or legal drug which takes place within the school boundaries. This covers; on or near on the school premises, within the school day and during term time, on school visits, school journeys and at school social events.

These rules apply equally to staff, pupils, parents, governors and those working and visiting the school.

Management of authorised drugs

We believe that there are circumstances when some legal drugs are authorized for use in school. These are prescribed medicines, hazardous chemicals (and solvents) and alcohol.

(i) Prescribed Medicines (see medicines policy)

Only with written parental consent can staff administer medicines to pupils.

Pupils that need inhalers are responsible for their administration and should carry them with them, for easy access, and parents give written permission.

Staff are aware of any serious medical conditions which affect pupils in their class and will receive appropriate training to administer emergency medicine such as Epipen in the case of anaphylaxis.

(ii) Non-prescribed medicines

Staff do not give any non-prescribed medicines to pupils unless a written agreement is made between the school office and the parent.

(iii) Hazardous chemicals and volatile substances (solvents)

Arrangements for the secure and safe storage of chemicals e.g. for cleaning are set out in the Health and Safety Policy and follow COSSH guidance.

(iv) Alcohol

There are occasions when alcohol is authorised at school during parent’s events e.g. (Summer Fair) and staff social events.

Management of drug-related incidents

Definition of a drug-related incident

In this school, a drug-related incident includes any incidents involving a drug that is unauthorized and therefore not permitted within the school boundaries.

Drug related incidents in a primary school rarely involve illegal substances but can involve:

* pupils smoking cigarettes in school,
* a parent/carer collecting their child whilst drunk,
* pupils selling cigarettes to other pupils,
* misusing another pupils’ asthma inhaler,
* disclosing concern about a family member who has a drug problem,
* giving medicines to another pupil,
* the school caretaker finding used syringes in the playground,
* a member of the public phoning the school to say they have seen drug users on our premises.

School responses to drug-related incidents

In all drug-related incidents the following principles will apply:

* the head teacher will be informed immediately
* all situations will be carefully considered before deciding on the response
* the needs of the student will always be considered, whilst also taking account of the needs of the school as a whole
* parents/carers will be involved at an early stage and throughout any investigation
* support agencies, including the police will be involved as appropriate and in keeping with legal requirements
* a range of responses will be considered including disciplinary and counselling/supportive responses.
* if at all possible, permanent exclusion will be the final resort
* any action taken will be in line with the school’s Positive Behaviour Policy.
* decisions about the response will depend on the severity of the situation, whether the offence is one of a series or a first time and whether the person involved is putting themselves and others at risk. The Head teacher, in consultation with key staff will decide whether a disciplinary and/or counselling action should take place.
* incidents will be reported to the Chair of Governors and the Police.

Possible responses might be:

(i) Support and counselling

If a pupil had a concern about drugs or was involved in a drug related incident or was themselves at risk of drug misuse, we will seek support from appropriate professionals and if appropriate refer to a specialist agency

(ii) Sanctions

Where a school rule related to drug use, is broken, sanctions will be given. The type of sanction will depend on the nature and degree of the offence. Decisions about sanctions will be made by the Head teacher and consistent with the Positive Behaviour Policy. In the unlikely event of an incident involving illegal drugs, permanent exclusion will be considered and used if needed

Procedures for managing incidents

Reporting a drug-related incident

All drug-related incidents are reported to the Head teacher

Although there is no legal obligation to report an incident involving drugs to the police, we will inform Police immediately of any incident involving a suspected illegal drug. Incidents involving legal drugs will remain school matters.

Recording the drug-related incident

All drug-related incidents are recorded and reported to governors.

In all drug-related incidents the head teacher, in consultation with key staff, will decide on the responses, including the use of sanctions and/or counselling and support.

It is very rare for primary-age pupils to misuse drugs in school, however we believe it is important to be prepared should such an incident occur.

Intoxication, when a pupil is under the influence of a drug

The pupil will be removed to a quiet room and not left alone. The first aider and head teacher will be called. The pupil will be helped to calm down and medical assistance sought immediately. Parents/carers will be informed and called to the school.

Discovery/observation when a person is discovered using, supplying or holding a substance that is not permitted on school premises and which is described in this policy.

The Substance will be confiscated and the pupil and substance taken to the head teacher. Parent/carer will be informed and called to the school.

If the substance is legal (but unauthorised in school) it will be handed to the parent/carer.

If the substance is illegal (or suspected to be illegal) it will be stored securely and the Police called immediately to dispose of the substance. The parent/carer will be informed and called to the school. The pupil(s) involved will be internally excluded whilst investigations are carried out.

If a member of staff suspects that a pupil is carrying drugs on them or in their personal property, they cannot carry out personal searches but will ask pupils to voluntarily produce the substance, in the presence of two members of staff. In circumstances where a pupil refuses to do this the school will consider involving the police, Parents/carers will be informed if this happens.

Dealing with drug-taking materials

Pupils are taught what to do if they come across needles on the school premises and know not to touch needles and to inform a member of staff immediately.

Disclosure – when a pupil discloses to a member of staff that he/she has been using drugs, or is concerned about someone else’s drug use.

In these situations, staff will be non-judgemental and caring and will show concern for the pupil. Pupils know that teachers cannot promise total confidentiality. The head teacher or deputy head should be informed as soon as possible so that appropriate support can be found.

Suspicion/rumour. Staff should not assume use of drugs on the basis of rumours or behaviour alone. However, it there is a suspicion, evidence will be collected over a period of time before a decision is made to question the pupil(s) involved.

Intoxicated members of the school community

Our schools rules for drugs apply to all people, who are on the school premises and we expect that all adults will adhere to these rules. If an adult or young person comes to school and appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will be asked to leave. If they have come to collect their child or sibling, we will sensitively offer to phone for someone else to come and collect the child. If we are concerned that the child is at risk then we will follow the Child Protection procedures.


Pupils need to be able to talk in confidence to staff without fear of being judged or told off. The welfare of children will be central to our policy and practice. However, teachers cannot promise total confidentiality in order to seek specialist help if needed. This is made clear to pupils through the PSHE and Citizenship programme. Information about a pupil in relation to drugs will follow the same procedure as for other sensitive information. If teachers have any concerns about the welfare of children, they must inform the head teacher the designated Child Protection Officer.

Working with parents/carers

The school welcomes parents/carers who wish to share with us, their concerns about drugs. We consult parents/carers when reviewing the drugs policy as well as give up to date information about drugs and where they can get further information, help and advice.

Parents/carers will be informed immediately if their child has been involved in a drug-related incident. However there may be some exceptional situations where involving the parents may put the young person at risk of abuse and in these exceptional cases, the school will exercise some caution. The decision will be taken by the Senior Management Team with the child’s welfare a priority.

Involving police

In most cases a drug-related incident will be a school, rather than a police matter. However the school will contact the Police immediately if an illegal (or suspected illegal) drug has been found on the school premises, on a pupil or illegal drug dealing is taking place. We will only call 999 in an emergency.

We have strong links with the local police and involve them in the drug education curriculum and are consulted about policy.

Staff responsible for drugs issues: The PSHE and citizenship Co-ordinator is responsible for the development, monitoring and review of the drug education curriculum, supporting and training staff, liaising with external agencies to support the curriculum and developing, monitoring and reviewing the drugs policy.

The head teacher is responsible for managing any drug-related incidents and for liaising with external agencies to support pupils vulnerable to drug misuse.

The governors’ committee responsible for Child Protection policy will also take a lead on drugs issues and will work with the school about curriculum and policy.

Reviewing the policy

If an incident should occur, the policy is reviewed in the light of that incident.

Disseminating the policy

A full policy is available to parents/carers on request and is also available on the school website.

Copies of the full policy are in the head teacher’s office.

We work in close co-operation with Saltash.net Community School and the other primary schools in the Saltash Association of Schools re drugs policy.

Written by Mrs J. Thomas April 2010

Agreed by governors May 2010

Reviewed 2012

Next review: 2014