Home Affairs Committee - Drugs: Breaking the CycleWritten evidence submitted by the Department for Education [DP195]


Letter from the Secretary of State, Department for Education, to the Chair of the Committee, 14 August 2012

Thank you for your letter dated 26 July regarding your inquiry into drug policy and drug education in schools. Please see below for the answers to your questions. You may find it helpful to note that these answers refer to local authority maintained schools only. Academies and free schools are required to include science as part of a broad and balanced curriculum but it is down to them to what extent they cover drugs in science, or PSHE.

1. How often is drug education taught in: (a) year 3; (b) year 6; (c) year 7; (d) year 9; and (e) year 11?

We do not specify how often drugs education is taught in either primary or secondary school; we believe it is up to schools to determine how often they cover this aspect of education in accordance with the statutory programmes of study for National Curriculum Science, and non-statutory Personal social health and economic (PSHE) education.

2. What is the national budget for drug education in England?

It is up to schools to decide how much they spend on drug education. We are giving schools greater freedom over their budgets to enable them to take into account local circumstances, and the needs of their pupils.

3. What is the prevalence of use of the following developmental programmes a) the Good Behaviour Game; b) Life Skills Training; c) Unplugged; and d) Preventure in English schools?

We do not monitor the programmes or resources that schools use to support their teaching.

4. When will the review of PSHE be published?

We expect to publish the outcomes of the PSHE Review later this year.

5. Will drug education also be addressed as part of the current review of the National Curriculum?

The aim of this review is to ensure that the National Curriculum focuses on the key knowledge in eg science and does not absorb the overwhelming majority of teaching time in schools. A slimmed-down National Curriculum will also free up teachers to use their professional judgement to design curricula that meet the needs of their pupils. Those elements that are currently part of the science Programme of Study (eg impact of drugs on the human body, uses of drugs) are covered by the National Curriculum review. The wider issues and topics that are commonly dealt with in PSHE education are being considered as part of the review of PSHE education.

6. What are the current requirements placed on state schools in regard to drugs education?

The current National Curriculum requires KS1 pupils to be taught about the role of drugs as medicines and KS2 pupils to be taught about the effects on the human body of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs and how these relate to health. The impact of drugs is included in the current secondary science National Curriculum and at key stage 3 the programme of study includes the affect drugs can have on conception, growth, development, behaviour and health. This is built on during key stage 4 which looks at how human health is affected by the misuse of drugs. The secondary science curriculum also provides pupils with the opportunity to consider how knowledge and understanding of science informs personal and collective decisions including those on substance abuse. In PSHE key stage 2 pupils learn which commonly available substances and drugs are legal and illegal, their effects and risks. The PSHE programme of study for key stage 3 and 4 teaches pupils about the facts and laws about drug use and misuse and the personal and social consequences of misuse for themselves and others.

The National Curriculum Review has published its draft primary science programmes of study and feedback can be made to NationaICurriculumReview.FEEDBACK@education.gsi.gov.uk

7. Whether independent schools are required to teach drug education? If yes, what are the requirements placed upon them?

There are no specific requirements in the independent school regulations requiring schools to provide drug education. Independent schools are however expected to provide a broad and balanced curriculum and one that enables pupils to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the law.

Rt Hon Michael Gove MP
Secretary of State, Department for Education

August 2012

Prepared 8th December 2012