Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

PQ – Health Education: Drugs

Conservative MP, James Gray, has asked the DCSF about the training for teachers who deliver drug education:

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what type of training teachers providing drugs education in secondary schools are required to undertake; and what the duration of such training is.

Jim Knight: There is no requirement for teachers to undertake particular training on drug education. Drug education is delivered through personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE). The Department provides £2 million funding each year to train teachers and professionals who deliver PSHE. Over 8,000 practitioners (primarily teachers) have completed the national PSHE continuing professional development (CPD) programme since it began in 2003, and there are a further 1,600 practitioners undertaking the programme this year. Schools also have access to a variety of CPD provision through their local authorities and commercial provision.

The Department is exploring with the Training and Development Agency for Schools how a route through initial teacher training can be created to become a specialist PSHE teacher.

Readers of this blog will remember that training was one of the themes of the recent independent review of drug and alcohol education that was carried out for the government.

The review group argued:

The Advisory Group has concluded that the quality of drug and alcohol education provided in schools – when judged on the basis of improving knowledge, skills and attitudes and meeting young people’s expressed needs – has been improving, but there is still more to be done.

Key to this is how well equipped teachers are to deliver effective and engaging PSHE. Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and Continued Professional Development (CPD) have a vital role to play here.

We know from Ofsted (2005)10 that most primary and secondary Initial Teacher Training (ITT) courses are well designed and enable the great majority of trainees to meet the standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) at a good level. But we know from the Blueprint delivery reports that many teachers who took part in the study were uncomfortable using the interactive teaching techniques most appropriate to the delivery of effective drug and alcohol education. They needed a good deal of training and support and many may have lacked the skills necessary to teach in this way.

We also know that there is a consistent link between teachers’ academic and professional qualifications and pupil achievement, but there is no specialist ITT route for PSHE and PSHE coverage within ITT is minimal so there is currently no opportunity to enhance teachers’ expertise in PSHE during this phase. Formal Continued Professional Development (CPD) in PSHE includes a route for those wishing to specialise in drug education, but nationally CPD in PSHE is under-subscribed.

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Filed under: drug education

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