Humankind worker Jo Boyd has offered expert input towards updated NICE guidance developed with Public Health England, for Alcohol interventions in secondary and further education.
The new draft recommendations will support the Department for Education’s plan to make alcohol education a compulsory component of personal, social and health education (PSHE) in all state-funded schools in England from September 2020.
The guidance advises a positive approach to alcohol education; inviting classroom discussion and wider school policies to embed a ‘whole-school approach’ to PSHE.
Jo, a member of the guideline committee and a worker in our County Durham Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service, said: “For young people to leave school with healthy lives ahead of them, they need to be educated so they can make informed choices and be aware of the consequences of alcohol consumption.
“This guideline will help ensure that alcohol education isn’t a one-off topic, and that schools provide age-appropriate and accurate information.”
Recent data suggests alcohol consumption among young people has reduced in recent years. However, NICE’s independent guideline committee recognised that risky drinking can still be an issue for young people.
The draft guideline therefore makes recommendations around targeted interventions for pupils identified as being most at risk. It says these interventions should be tailored to individuals’ needs and should avoid stigmatising the pupils involved.
Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive of NICE, said: “There are many examples of schools that deliver very good alcohol education. The updated NICE guideline reinforces best practice and helps schools provide alcohol education that fits into the new era of PSHE.
“We have also made a number of research recommendations to help develop the evidence base for the future, in an area that is vital in helping young people make informed, healthy decisions.”
A public consultation on the updated guidance runs until 22 March. Final guidance is due to be published in August 2019.