Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Union reaction to Steer

I’ve noticed that three of our teaching union members have made statements on Sir Alan Steer’s report.


“Voice welcomes Sir Alan’s comments that schools are often safe havens for many children and that standards of pupil behaviour and parental responsibility are generally good. It is all too easy for society and the media to demonise young people. Schools should not be portrayed as places of fear and danger. They should be places where children can feel safe.

“However, great caution must be exercised over any extension of search powers. Any new powers must be exercised carefully, only where necessary in schools that have a particular problem with drugs, alcohol or stolen property, and with the necessaary back-up from the police or specially trained security staff.

“We would not want schools to enter into police territory with general searches for stolen goods or drugs. Schools are about education. They should work in partnership with their local police force but must be very careful that they are not used to do the work of the police.

ASCL General Secretary Dr John Dunford said:

“We should not forget that the vast majority of young people are well behaved. However, drugs and alcohol are a growing concern in some areas and the extended search powers will give schools another option for dealing sharply and swiftly with poor behaviour. Schools work hard to ensure the safety of all students and staff and additional powers that help them to enforce this will be welcome.”

“Schools must have the support of parents in order to impact on behaviour. The government’s strategy will need to make clear parents’ responsibilities to work with schools to resolve issues quickly.”

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT:

“The extension of the powers to search is a welcome development.

“It will enable schools to be responsive to a wider range of problems. It will also enhance the menu of strategies to tackle pupil indiscipline from which schools can now choose to assist them in maintaining high standards of safety, good order and discipline.

“Sir Alan’s recommendations today build on proposals made previously by the NASUWT and which this Government has implemented to promote good behaviour and discipline in schools.

“Many schools may never need to use these measures. However, all schools will still need to ensure that they are prepared fully should the need arise by reviewing their behaviour policies.”

Christine Blower speeking on behalf of the NUT:

“Rarely will teachers want to search pupils physically, but if they do there should be no threat of prosecution.

“Government needs to respond pragmatically to the needs of schools which face threats from gangs, knives and drug and alcohol abuse. Schools are safe places but our research shows that the minority of schools need exceptional back-up. Schools should not face enormous security bills just because they are sited in the toughest areas”


Filed under: Drug Education Forum Members, school drug policy

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