Alcohol education in schools is to be reviewed by the Government as part of a drive to tackle binge-drinking among teenagers. The review is intended to help teachers identify pupils at risk of alcohol misuse, as well as to ensure staff know how to support those who are already drinking too much.
The new Youth Alcohol Action Plan was launched this week to tackle the growing number of school-age binge-drinkers.
Alcohol consumption among children between the ages of 11 and 15 has risen from an average of five units per week in 1990 to more than 11 in 2006. Thirty-five per cent of these pupils say that they drink purely in order to get drunk.
The plan's recommendations include parenting support for families where children between the ages of 8 and 13 are involved in anti-social behaviour. These are the children most at risk of binge-drinking. And the Department for Children, Schools and Families will commission research on how to improve the alcohol-education element of PSHE lessons.
The plan states: "Alcohol education is crucial ... Ofsted reports show that its delivery and quality could be improved." It also says: "Young people sometimes say they drink because there is nothing else for them to do in their spare time." It suggests that offering pupils a range of extra-curricular activities will help reduce their alcohol consumption.
Ed Balls, Children, Schools and Families Secretary, said: "We need a culture change about drinking. We need to fundamentally influence young people's behaviour and attitudes towards alcohol."
The Youth Alcohol Action Plan is at: www.dcsf.gov.ukpublications.