The Alcohol Education Trust - Teacher Newsletter

Autumn Term, September 2016, Ed 29

September has seen our resources flying out to support your programmes of PSHE for the new academic year!

We have new editions of our parent's leaflet Talking To Kids About Alcohol and our teen guide, Alcohol And You – plus, a brand new edition of our Teacher Workbook will be appearing soon, with new games and activities, links throughout to our new on line learning zone and more, such as revised worksheets to reflect the now confirmed new low risk guidelines.

We are also thrilled to announce that we have funding from the end of October for 110 more schools to receive our 8 lessons and activities designed for children with moderate learning difficulties. The resource works alongside our Talk About Alcohol Teacher Workbook and can be used in a whole class setting, in a small group or on a one to one basis. Email to learn more.

You might be interested in attending the SEN workshop at our conference on the 19th October at Middlesex University. You can learn more about the whole day of speakers and workshops here. Hurry, as only a very few places remain with 140 already booked. 

New safeguarding guidance takes effect

This term sees the new Government safeguarding guidance for schools take effect. The updated guidance creates an expectation that governing bodies and proprietors should ensure children are taught about safeguarding, including online, through teaching and learning opportunities, as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. PSHE and SRE are suggested as vehicles to provide this teaching. Ensuring you have a clear alcohol policy and have made tutors and staff aware of signposting for pupils, to staff or services within school, local and national agencies and charities for help regarding alcohol, should form part of safeguarding. See for support. 

Less time spent on PSHE – although pupils and parents see it as essential for safety and wellbeing

New analysis showing how secondary schools allocate their curriculum has revealed that the time spent teaching PSHE education has fallen by over 32% in just four years.* This significant decline comes as new YouGov online polling shows that 92%** of parents believe that all pupils should receive PSHE lessons.

The campaign for statutory status for PSHE education is supported by more than nine in 10 parents, has the support of the national police lead for child sexual exploitation, the Children’s Commissioner, the Chief Medical Officer, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, two royal societies, three Parliamentary select committees, five leading teaching unions, six royal medical colleges and 100 leading organisations including The Alcohol Education Trust.

If your time for teaching PSHE has squeezed, we have resources to that can be accessed quickly by topic and as suitable by Year group with activities and worksheets that can take from 20 minutes to as long as you’ve got! The resources are carefully planned to ensure spirals of knowledge are built up over time. View our Teacher Workbook for more details

* Figures based on comparison of Department for Education workforce 2011 data and 2015 data 
**All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,377 parents of children aged 18 or under in Great Britain. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st and 4th August 2016. The survey was carried out online and the figures have been weighted and are representative of GB adults (aged 18+).

20 places left at our conference on evidence based alcohol and drug programmes for schools!

We have a 140 attending on the 19th October 2016 when The Alcohol Education Trust and Mentor will bring together a group of experts to showcase evidence-based and effective good practice that can be used in education settings across the UK for alcohol and drugs education and prevention. The keynote speaker is now confirmed as Sarah Newton MP, Home Office Parliamentary Under Secretary of State with The PSHE Association and Janet Palmer, former PSHE lead at OFSTED, taking part.

This conference and a selection of workshops will offer teachers, PSHE leads, Local Authorities and those working in the field of alcohol and drugs with young people the opportunity to learn about the most highly trialled and rigorously tested programmes that are available across the UK. Find out more, or to book your place here.

Alcohol awareness week

Alcohol Awareness Week will take place from the 14th to the 20th November, with a theme of 'Knowing the Risks'. This offers a good opportunity to focus on alcohol in school. Email your regional schools coordinator for help if you’d like to have a training session for staff or a talk for parents in the lead up to, or during the week.

For the North east email, for the North West, for London and the South East  and for the Midlands and West and to order resources

Isle of Wight celebration event- July 2016

In Autumn 2015 the Isle of Wight was selected, along with schools from two other areas, to take part in the AET Talk About Alcohol programme to help trial its effectiveness among pupils in areas of England where alcohol related hospital admissions for under 18’s are high. The Talk About Alcohol programme goal is to inform and help young people make healthy choices before they begin drinking. The lessons are flexible according to pupil ability, time available, knowledge and age and the programme has been independently evaluated among 4,000 pupils in 30 schools over 4 years.

11 schools took part in the project across the 3 areas of Tyneside, Burnley and the Isle of Wight involving 2,000 Year 8 pupils, with almost 1,000 of these from Isle of Wight schools. The project began in October with all of the pupils taking part in a pre-intervention survey to measure their knowledge, confidence and attitudes towards alcohol. This was followed by 4 lessons delivered in a variety of ways focussing on knowledge, units, the effects of alcohol and rehearsal strategies, using the interactive lessons from the “Talk about Alcohol Teacher Workbook” and all the valuable on line resources. Some schools delivered the lessons through the pupil’s Tutor sessions while others fitted well into the PSHE/Citizenship curriculum. One school chose to use a project based approach in the science lessons and another had a PE focus. This variety demonstrates the flexible nature of the AET resources and the importance of teachers being able to choose how best to use them to meet the needs of their pupils. After the 4 lessons a follow up survey was completed by the pupils to measure any changes. This data has been analysed by Dr Lesley Gutman from the University College London with encouraging results. Helena Conibear, Director of the Alcohol Education Trust said;

“The results are very pleasing indeed in showing that the programme seems to work as well in areas of higher deprivation with higher indices of alcohol related harm for under 18’s as within the general population as evaluated by NFER" .

Following the success of the Year 8 Project in the four schools on the Isle of Wight (Cowes Enterprise College, Ryde Academy, Christ the King College and Medina College) pupils and parents along with local authority Councillors, Public Health and the Police were invited to join us in celebrating with pupils as they shared what they had learnt and enjoyed in the lessons. Hosted by Cowes Enterprise College, the pupils created their own PowerPoint presentations to demonstrate this. Councillor Stephen Stubbings presented the pupils with a certificate to acknowledge their contribution towards the Celebration and Gilles Bergeron, Public Health Specialist, explained what an important prevention initiative the lessons had been.

Pupils comments and feedback included;
We now understand the health risks associated with substance abuse, and know that exceeding recommended guidelines can result in damage to our physical and mental wellbeing.”

“We can offer advice to others who are less knowledgeable about alcohol than ourselves.”

“Teenagers are probably always going to try alcohol but it is important that we know the risks and the consequences and make our choices with the facts.”

The staff who were involved in delivering the lessons also completed evaluations, reflecting on the pupils' engagement and the resource materials in the Talk About Alcohol programme. Here’s what some of them said:
“Very engaged, enjoyed all the sessions, very keen to share their experiences”

 “Will continue to use the approach used from the alcohol project, thought it was excellent.”

All schools are now being invited to deliver 2 further lessons to the pupils who are now in Year 9 and to complete a follow up survey once more to demonstrate changes in behaviour and attitudes over longer time scales. All the data collected is extremely valuable in building up our evidence base, which supports and consolidates the AET resources.

For more information about the project, please contact Helen Dougan,

Interesting reports and resources with local and national statistics

The Schools Health and Education Unit provide health and wellbeing research about children and young people.Topics include Food, Drugs, RSE, Exercise, Health, Education. In addition, there are links to research about age groups : 5-11 : 11-16 : 16+.

There is also a good summary of data on young people’s drinking patterns from Public Health England with a supporting blog by PHE's national director Kevin Fenton. The blog highlights that whilst there has been a 26% fall from 1990 to 2014 in the number of 11-15 year olds who had tried alcohol [38% in 2014], by the age of 17 half of all girls and almost two-thirds of boys drink alcohol every week. Additionally, consumption among young people in the UK is also higher than the European average and the decline in drinking among 11 to 15 year olds appears to be starting to level off with girls.

The data and intelligence briefing summarises the range of data sources giving indications of consumption and harms, that also show declines in young people's hospital admissions and treatment services access. However, important nuances lie behind the headline trends including regional, ethnic and deprivation figures.

Other specific figures may also still be a cause for concern. In the 2014 Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England of those 11-15 year olds who drank in the last week (8%), over a fifth (22%) drank 15 or more units during the week. This is a small group, but highly likely to experience significant harm, and around half had drank 6 or more units.

Fenton states "There is no room for complacency and we must continue to communicate the current advice from the Chief Medical Officer that an alcohol-free childhood is the healthiest and best option." The data briefing concludes that "professionals from health, education, social care and youth justice agencies need to be able to identify, assess and, where necessary, appropriately refer young people experiencing alcohol-related problems."

The Good Childhood Report

A collaboration between The Children’s Society and the University of York, highlights the clear link between unhappiness and mental health problems, underlining the importance of tackling low psychological well-being to address mental ill-health. Boys and girls experience mental health problems in different ways. While boys aged 10 and 11 are less happy than girls with their school work and more likely to experience conduct and attention/hyperactivity problems, girls experience anxiety and depression significantly more than boys – and become increasingly unhappy with their appearance – as they get older.

The Children’s Society’s annual Good Childhood Report reveals that girls in Britain are becoming more unhappy with their lives. The report, the latest in a series of studies into children’s lives based on surveys of thousands of young people, finds that at age 12, 10% of children overall are ‘languishing’ in lives they feel have little meaning and purpose – with low scores on both happiness with life and psychological well-being.

Almost three-quarters of a million girls are unhappy with their looks and more than a quarter of a million are distressed about their overall lives, according to an annual report on childhood in the UK.


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AET resources comprise of and a Teacher Workbook, booklets ‘Alcohol and You’ for 15yrs+ and ‘Talking to Your Kids About Alcohol’ parent and carer guide. 

We also offer teacher CPD workshops and parent information talks.

For further information on any of the above please contact
Helena Conibear, Founder, Director
Sandra Saint, Parent and Schools Coordinator NE
Kathryn Arnott-Gent, Parent and Schools Coordinator NW
Kate Hooper, Schools Coordinator
Helen Dougan, Project Manager

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Gordon Redley BEd (Cantab) LPSH, Chair of Trustees
Christina Benjamin BSc (Hons) PGCE
Patricia Garven Cert Ed.
Victoria Mc Donaugh MA (Hons) PGCE
Keith Newton ACA
Alison Winsborough BMus, PGCE

The Alcohol Education Trust, Frampton House, Frampton, Dorset, DT2 9NH
01300 320 869
Registered Charity Number 1138775