Drugs Education Policy

Newham Bridge Primary School will incorporate into its Health Education Teaching Programme, work related to the use and misuse of any substance that could affect the health of its pupils.  This will include medicines, solvents, alcohol and tobacco, and, illegal drugs where appropriate.

Drugs Education in our school will:

  • Help pupils to gain an understanding of drugs and appropriate drug use.
  • Dispel myths
  • Provide accurate information
  • Clarify values and attitudes.

Our aims are:

  • to raise self esteem
  • to enable children to make positive, healthy and informed choices and decisions.
  • to help children manage personal, social and emotional development and change.
  • to develop personal and social skills.

The National Curriculum guidance on the teaching of substance use, and misuse states:

Key Stage 1

  • Know that all medicines are drugs but not all drugs are medicines
  • Know that all substances can be harmful if not used properly
  • Know about all different types of medicine and that some people need them to live a normal life
  • Know and understand simple safety rules about medicines, tablets, solvents, and household substances

Key Stage 2

  • Know that all medicines are drugs but not all drugs are medicines
  • Know that there are over-the-counter, prescribed legal and illegal substances and have some understanding of their effects
  • Know how to make simple choices and exercise some basic techniques for resisting pressure from friends and others
  • Know the important and beneficial part which drugs have played in society

How would we deal with incidents relating to drugs/substances on school premises?

Staff will ensure that children are aware of the risks involved in contact with dangerous substances and equipment.  They will be clearly told that if they find any thing suspicious they MUST NOT TOUCH, but immediately inform a member of staff.  This information will be repeated on a yearly or termly basis, both in assemblies and by individual class teachers’ discretion, for example, when a new child arrives in the school.  It will also be explained to supply teachers and ancillary staff.

Newham Bridge School will follow the guidelines set out in Middlesbrough Council’s “Drugs Guideline Pack” when dealing with drugs/ substance related incidents.

Action to be taken  (See appendix 1 and appendix 2)


Children will already have been told:

  • Do not touch
  • Inform a member of staff

Staff will know:

  • Do not touch
  • Inform a higher authority, Head or Deputy

It is important that all staff understand basic first aid. Mrs. J. Bannister and Mrs. T. Pearce are trained first aid personnel and their assistance should be sought in any incident regarding drug / substance abuse.

Disposal of injecting equipment by staff

Injecting equipment should be disposed of very carefully.  There is a slim risk of HIV and a greater risk of Hepatitis.

If injecting equipment is found:

  • Do NOT attempt to pick up the needle.
  • Cover the needle with a bucket or other container
  • If possible, cordon off the area to make it safe.
  • Inform the Head teacher or Drug’s Co-ordinator.
  • Contact the Environmental Health Tel. 01642 264083

Signs of drug use

Many publications list signs and symptoms e.g. changes in school attendance, mood swings, spending and borrowing money, excessive tiredness etc.  The problem is that these symptoms may be due to other factors than drug use.

If you feel there is a problem or something wrong with one of the children you work with, talk to the child concerned and if necessary their parents.  Good communication is vital.

Coping with emergencies

Acute intoxication, collapse or unconsciousness can result form a single experiment with drugs and solvents. This constitutes a medical emergency.

In such cases:

  • Be calm and talk quietly – place the child face downward with the head on one side.
  • Call an ambulance
  • Inform Head teacher
  • Contact parents
  • Collect any evidence of what has been taken.  If the child has been sick, keep a sample of the vomit
  • Keep checking the casualty’s breathing – maintain a calm, reassuring atmosphere.

In less acute cases the following procedure should be followed:

  • Sit the child in a quiet room.
  • Open the window
  • Do not shout or threaten
  • Talk quietly and calmly
  • Call for help

What should we do if we find a drug or suspected illegal substance?

Take possession of the drug / substance and inform the Head teacher and / or P.S.E. Co-ordinator.  In the presence of a witness, the drug / article should be packed securely and labelled with the date, time and place of discovery.  The package should be signed by the person who discovered it and stored in a safe place.  As soon as possible arrangements should be made to hand it over to the police.

What should you do if you find or suspect a pupil to be in possession of a drug?

  • Request that the child hands over the drug / article.
  • Having taken possession the substance / paraphernalia should be dealt with as described above.
  • If a child refuses to hand over articles a search may be required –
  • Teachers can search desks, lockers etc. without permission.
  • Teachers cannot search children without permission. Any forced search by staff COULD BE INTERPRETED AS ASSAULT.
  • If consent is refused, staff may wish to consider contacting the police.
  • In any search staff must be aware of the potential danger of needle stick injuries.

What are our responsibilities?


As part of their general responsibilities for the management of the school, the governors have been consulted in the development of the school’s policy for drug education and drug prevention.

The Head teacher will take overall responsibility should a drug-related incident occur.  Each incident should be considered on its merits with the child’s interest’s paramount.  The Head teacher acting in “loco parentis” also has responsibility to provide a safe place of work for all staff and pupils.  [Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1993, “The Health and Safety at Work Act” 1974]

A Special Co-ordinator can act as first point of expert contact and advice on drug related incidents.

This policy applies at all times when staff are acting in loco parentis. It also affects the use of school premises after normal school hours. It provides a framework for dealing with incidents surrounding the use, suspicion of use and finding of drugs and substances.

For the purpose of this policy the following definition of a drug will apply:

A drug is a chemical substance that brings about a change in a person’s emotional state, body functioning or behaviour.

This broad definition allows for the inclusion of all medication, legal/illegal drugs, tobacco, volatile substances etc.

It is important to recognise that drug prevention should be seen as a whole school issue. [DFEE 4/95]

It is important for all staff both teaching and non teaching to be aware of the policy and how it relates to them should they be called upon to deal with a drug related incident.

Informing Parents

Although there is no statutory requirement for us to inform parents that children at Newham Bridge will be taught about drugs, we have excellent teacher / parent relationships and teachers are always available to talk to parents.

Equally, although there is no legal responsibility to inform parents that their child is using drugs, parents at Newham Bridge would be informed as part of school policy. The child should be involved in the decision to inform parents and encouraged to talk to their parents about the problem.

Teachers should be aware that this is an alarming situation for parents, and that by keeping calm, they can help put this in perspective and encourage them to be positive about what can be done.  These perspectives of parents may differ from those held by staff.  We are prepared to listen to parents and provide them with the resources we have in school and direct them to outside agencies that may be able to help.


In normal circumstances parents will be contacted. If the situation is assessed as a child protection issue then social services will be contacted in the first instance.

Exclusion would only be used as a last resort.

Consideration should also be given to:

  • age of pupil
  • whether one pupil or a group of pupils is involved
  • home / school contract
  • fixed term exclusion
  • permanent exclusion

Informing the Police

If you know that a pupil has been using or supplying illegal drugs you DO NOT have a legal obligation to inform the police.  However, the DFEE recommends that calling the police would be an appropriate outcome and schools should liaise closely with the local police force.

If you find an illegal drug on the school site you are NOT legally obliged to tell the police.  However it should be noted that if you keep a controlled substance in your possession you are committing the offence of possession.

If you destroy a controlled drug it could lead to charges of obstructing the police in the course of their duties or perverting the course of justice.

Dealing with the Media

If there has been a drug related incident the LEA would be informed. Advice will be given by the LEA on dealing with enquiries from the media in order to protect the interests of the child and school.

What areas of confidentially should the policy consider?

If a child discloses that they are using drugs, it is advisable to let them know that because of your position you cannot offer them absolute confidentiality.  A conditional system, based on statutory obligation, professional codes of conduct and the employer’s policy, would therefore apply.  Parents have the right to be informed of any incidents that could result in potential harm to their child.  This can be a very sensitive issue for parents, and therefore, it should be handled with care and consideration.  The Head teacher should consider if there are any special circumstances, which may temper this right.  Further it should be noted: –

If the preservation of a confidence: –

  • Enables criminal offences to be committed
  • Results in serious harm to the pupil’s health and welfare.
  • Criminal Proceedings could ensue

School staff have an additional duty to their employer under contracts of employment.  If they discover or become aware that a criminal offence is being committed at school, they must inform the LEA. Failure to do so could lead to disciplinary action.

If rumours of substance abuse are disclosed, the Head teacher should be informed – the Head teacher should assess the information and decide whether further action is to be taken.


The drug education programme will be delivered as part of the whole personal, social and emotional programme by classroom teachers.

National Curriculum Science Key Stage One

“pupils should be taught about the role of drugs as medicines”

National Curriculum Science Key Stage Two

“pupils should be taught that tobacco, alcohol and other drugs can have harmful effects”

At Newham Bridge Primary School Drug Education will be led by classroom teachers and delivered in whole class and group situations in a cross- curricular way and when appropriate.

We will also enlist the help of the Police Community Liaison Officer who works closely with the children delivering aspects of Good Citizenship.

Parents will be informed through the School Handbook that Drug Education is part of the curriculum and that if they have any worries or concerns they are most welcome to approach school and discuss the matter with the Head teacher.