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So far, so good in the war on drug-taking

THE Scottish Executive has declared itself satisfied, but not complacent, with schools' progress on drugs education.

Sam Galbraith, Children and Education Minister, was commenting following publication on Wednesday of the first annual survey on drugs education in schools. The survey's findings cover 95 per cent of local authority schools and 77 per cent of independent and other schools.

They show that 89 per cent of schools provide drugs education in line with national advice and 95 per cent provide it in one form or another, although this may only be once in children's school experience. But only 55 per cent of schools have written procedures for managing drug incidents and just 52 per cent have written procedures covering such cases which are in line with national advice.

Mr Galbraith said schools are now well on course for reaching the target that all schools should provide drugs education in line with national advice. But e added: "There can never be room for complacency and we will continue to monitor schools' performance and provide tools to assist with drug education and misuse of drugs."

The minister launched guidelines for managing drugs incidents in schools last month, which were prepared by the School Drug Safety Team under the chairmanship of Ken Corsar, director of education in Glasgow.

The group is now looking at further support for schools by considering what effective drugs education is, what teachers' training needs are and how good practice can be shared. The findings will be published later this year.

The Scottish Executive aims to advance on a broad front in its battle to win the hearts and minds of young people. Apart from school education and national strategies, the appointment of 2,000 school sport co-ordinators is cited as a key plank of the policy in an attempt to encourage pupils to opt for healthy lifestyles.

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