Tag Archives: Schools
Random Drug Testing in our Schools
Drug use amongst young people is an increasing trend, yet the public perception of the suitability / effectiveness of random drugs testing at school is relatively uncertain. Such testing takes place quite rarely in the UK, in spite of it being a more common practice in the USA.
The average starting age for heroin use in many cities in the UK is just 15, and a survey of over 20,000 UK school children showed that 9% of 13 year olds and over a quarter (27%) of 15 year olds had used an illegal drug at some point in their lives. So there is clearly a need for more assertive intervention at an early age.
Parents face the growing concern that their teenager may already be taking drugs, or that they are in an environment where they are exposed to those who will offer them drugs, especially Cannabis / Marijuana. The frightening reality is that this environment may be their school.
In order to learn more about drug use (and in particular Cannabis / Marijuana supply and young people), 182 young people who were Cannabis / Marijuana users aged between 11 and 19 were interviewed for a study published in January 2008 by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The sample included both city dwellers and young people from rural villages. Half of the young people had taken cannabis into school or college and 43 per cent said that they used cannabis whilst at school or college. It is clear from the report that the majority of these young people purchase cannabis from their friends or relatives and in turn supply their friends in a new wave of ‘social’ and ‘not-for-profit’ drug-taking which is a departure from the typical dealer-user scenario. One young interviewee told researchers that the people who sold her Cannabis / Marijuana included ‘friends from school’ and shows how combining drug-use with normal social networking is having the effect of normalising the act of taking drugs.
However, a recent study by Neil McKeganey, Professor of Drug Misuse Research at Glasgow University, demonstrates that random drug testing in schools is a more complex and controversial issue than one would at first imagine. Questions arise over matters including cost, ethical issues such as what would happen in the event that a pupil tested positive for drugs and what ‘punishment’ or deterrent would be appropriate, concerns that pupils may switch from easily detectable drugs to more harmful drugs in order to avoid detection, and the probability that a trusting relationship between staff and pupil would be damaged and encourage a culture of concealment. Furthermore, it is possible that enforcing random drug testing of pupils would conflict with the UN Charter on the Rights of the Child or the European Charter on Human Rights.
Whilst acknowledging the obvious need for drug prevention, it appears that further research and data collection is necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of drug screening within schools.
In spite of this, results from an ICM Research poll which previously appeared in the News of the World on Sunday demonstrated that 82% of parents and 66% of children support drug testing in schools and of the 1,000 parents surveyed, 96% said they would want to know if their son or daughter was taking drugs.
So what can be done?
In the absence of a drug-testing programme at school or college, anxious parents, guardians or caregivers who have concerns about teenagers or young people using drugs are able to conduct a drug test in the privacy of the home. These home drug test kits are used daily by professionals in the healthcare industry and one test can provide easy to read results in minutes for a variety of different drugs. This includes the most common drugs, such as Cannabis / Marijuana, Cocaine, Amphetamines, Benzodiazepines, Opiates, Methadone and Methamphetamines (including ecstasy).
UK boarding schools are residential schools for children and teenagers up to the age of 18, offering internationally recognised qualifications such as GCSEs, Scottish Standard Grades and Highers, A-levels and the International Baccalaureate.
UK boarding schools offer you an outstanding education, helping you to develop your skills and progress to university. All UK boarding schools have to meet strict UK government standards relating to the quality of their teaching, facilities and student care.
You may have read Harry Potter and dreamed about what life at a UK boarding school would be like. We can’t promise you any magicians, but we do hope you will have a fantastic experience!
UK boarding schools
Another Great video to use in an ESL classroom. It gives a unique insight into British life and culture. It contains subtitles and is easy to understand for intermediate students. It goes together with worksheets and it’s easy to use for any language teacher.
What do I love about my job? Well, there are so many aspects to it and I’m lucky enough to still be involved in rugby. And then there’s the fascinating new path I’ve started on too: education.
The main word that comes to mind when I think of education is ‘aspiration’. Education is the key to unlocking our aspirations, being the best possible version of ourselves and true to what we believe in and long for. I believe that with my life experience and sporting profile, I have a responsibility to help young people and in 2014 I partnered with Prospero Teaching to take my message about the importance of aspiration into schools.
Like a lot of young people, I experienced my share of bullying at school. Bullying can become a vicious circle with long term, harmful effects that impede confidence and aspiration. We also know that bullying is often the product of poor self-esteem and that victimising others enables the bully to deflect their own insecurities as well as escape the fear to aspire. So Prospero Teaching and I devised the ‘Balls to Bullying’ campaign which we take into primary and secondary schools, working with kids of every demographic, tailoring workshop style and content to support the needs of different groups.
I must admit, I love working with the younger kids; their enthusiasm and imagination is inspiring, and what can I say, I’m just a big kid myself after all! But working with the older kids feels like a massive honour and responsibility as well as a huge learning opportunity. I have delivered literacy sessions to a high school in Caerphilly, run a two-hour workshop for sixth-formers in North London, talked about anti bullying in Stoke and am now making return visits to schools following up long-standing goals we set together.
What value can I add to a kid’s education? I wasn’t exactly a star pupil myself, but I think that’s where my empathy with young people comes from, especially those who struggle through maths, watching the minutes tick by before PE, drama or music (or whatever makes them feel alive) starts; who are the victims of bullying, or don’t understand or control their own need to bully others. What do those kids need to embrace their education, stand aside from bullying, find the inner-strength to empower and support each other? Aspiration. The aspiration to be the best versions of themselves they can be.
To find out more about how Prospero Teaching and I work together in schools please visit http://www.prosperoteaching.com/balls-to-bullying/ and to see what can be achieved with these visits you could visit http://www.prosperoteaching.com/2015-04-29/prospero-teachings-gareth-thomas-visits-fortismere/ to see what happened with the pupils of Fortismere School in Muswell Hill, north London.
Prospero Teaching’s Aspirational and Anti-Bullying Ambassador
Rugby legend Gareth Thomas played at club & international level for 17 years & is currently ranked 12th among international try scorers. He took the step of becoming the first professional player to openly come out as gay & retired from professional rugby in 2011.
Prospero Teaching in partnership with Gareth go into schools where Gareth delivers a range of workshops to primary & secondary students. Each has specific learning objectives & are all borne out of Gareth’s own life experiences as well as his & Prospero’s passion for creating the happy healthy adults of tomorrow.
The workshops, developed by our in house teachers in collaboration with Gareth, encourage students to think about the kind of people they want to be & how rounded, responsible & conscientious individuals can define, set & achieve their own goals. The sessions focus on
– Raising aspirations
– Equality, diversity & engendering positive attitudes to LGBT
– Anti-bullying (also known as our Balls To Bullying campaign)
How much do you know about the U.K.’s education system? Siobhan Thompson teaches you the basics. Study up!
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