Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

New Statesman – Class war zone

The New Statesman has an article looking at what is effective in dealing with disruptive and difficult pupils.  Lord Ramsbotham, former chief inspector of prisons, is quoted saying:

“At the moment, what happens is that these young people, having been alienated from their families at an early age, are then excluded from school and turn to crime: drug-taking and dealing, knife crime and, in extreme but increasing cases, murder. Research shows that while poor parenting and low socio-economic status are major factors, school exclusion plays a significant environmental role in helping shape the criminals of tomorrow. The government needs to appoint a minister for inclusion to begin to address these issues.”

Ofsted, in its report, Reducing Exclusions of Black Pupils from Secondary Schools: Examples of Good Practice, identified three interrelated features that significantly reduce exclusions: “Respect for the individual in school and a systematic, caring and consistent approach to behaviour and personal development, the courage and willingness to discuss difficult issues, a focus on helping pupils to take more control of their lives by providing them with strategies to communicate well and look after each other.”

Filed under: drug prevention, Mentoring

Formalised Peer Mentoring

A colleague asked me what I knew about the evidence for peer mentoring and whilst the recent stuff about “cool kids” popped into my head I have to admit that I was momentarily at a loss.

After a bit of searching around the more accademic end of the web I’ve come across this report commissioned by the DCSF, which reminds us:

Other studies of classic model peer mentoring programmes have concluded that participating young people are less likely to use drugs and alcohol, less likely to be violent, have improved school attendance and performance and improved relationships with their parents and peers (Tierney et al, 1995; Jekielek et al, 2002). Schools operating a peer mentoring programme were found to create a more favourable school climate and showed a decline in pupil drop out rates (Stader and Gagnepain, 2000).  

Also worth a look should this be of interest is a literature review compiled by the University of Glasgow, Mentoring and Young People, which makes the point that there wasn’t much UK based research and what there is can’t be conclusive (something, I guess, the DCSF research is trying to address). 

The DCSF published report is an evaluation of the work done by the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation:

Over the past two years, the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation has been managing a national peer mentoring pilot, the purpose of which is to evaluate the effectiveness of different peer mentoring models in schools and to assess the impact that they are having on the students involved.

The 180 schools taking part in the pilot focussed their peer mentoring activity in four key areas: attainment, bullying, behaviour and transition. 

The researchers conclude the programme has been largely successful and say:

In evaluating the Formalised Peer Mentoring Pilot project, findings suggest that schools are engaging positively and productively with the project. The strong anecdotal and qualitative evidence provided by the mentee and mentor ‘voice’ and the quantitative evidence gathered from pupils and scheme coordinators highlight the benefits experienced by those involved. The very positive findings provide an enhanced basis for the engagement of further schools and the opportunity for existing projects to become more embedded within internal school structures.  

See also Mentoring Programmes and Youth Development for a US take on this issue.

Filed under: drug prevention, Mentoring

About this blog

This blog tries to pick up relevant media and research stories about drug education. It mainly focuses on information in England as this is the geographical remit for the Drug Education Forum. We welcome comments that are on topic.

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July 2021