Ministers endorse drug safety drive

26th January 2001 at 00:00
FAR-REACHING demands on schools to improve drugs education have been endorsed by the Scottish Executive. Every school should have a member of staff who is trained in recognising signs of drugs misuse and knows how to respond to emergencies such as an overdose.

Nicol Stephen, Deputy Minister for Education, said during a visit to Notre Dame High in Greenock this week that all 35 recommendations of last autumn's School Drug Safety Team report had been accepted. The impact of that will be to require all schools to have an effective drugs education programme.

Mr Stephen said that the report from the Drug Safety Team, led by Ken Corsar, director of education for Glasgow, had made it clear that "it is not all about spotting and dealing with drug misuse. We must also encourage schools to focus on health promotion and create a positive school ethos whih fosters mental, physical and social well-being."

The wider implications include a review of the place of personal and social education within the curriculum, leading to formal recognition of the status of PSE teaching, for which ministers will commission development of a teacher qualification.

The post-McCrone scenario is relevant, too: not only should all teachers be competent in drugs education for full registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland, but those aspiring to expert teacher standard should have the option of attaining more demanding competences as part of the national framework for professional development.

The Drug Safety Team last summer produced guidelines for the management of drug misuse incidents following a series of well publicised cases where primary-age children had been found with drugs.

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