Youth Intact is currently involved in a Whole School Approach Pilot working with 3 schools in the Waikato to trial this initiative
Preparing students to live in a world where alcohol and drugs exist:
The pilot will develop and implement a whole school approach to reduce drugs and alcohol related harm. It is led by the NZ Drug Foundation, supported by Odyssey and involves a number of local organisations such as Youth Intact and SORTED. It has the support and oversight of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Health Promotion Agency and Police.
Why did this Pilot come about:
Student attendance and achievement is impacted by drug and alchol use, and there are inconsistent messages about how schools and others in their community can address this. Unfortunately sometimes the advice and presentations offered to schools can be ineffective and at time harmful. Greater consistency in messages and easy access to evidence-based resources for schools to address this is needed.
What is the solution:
There is a body of evidence that indicates the solution is a whole school approach that comprises;
A positive school environment that explicitly focuses on wellbeing, student connectedness and promotes help-seeking behaviour.
Effective Education that focuses on skill development utilising factual and normative data in line with the Alcohol and other Drug Education Programmes. Learning modules have been developed in NCEA Level 1 &2 in English, Maths and Geography.
Proactive School-based support that identifies and addresses barriers to attendance and achievement as early as possible, including exploring drug and alcohol issues during these conversations and ensuring easy access to school pastoral care support with a focus on keeping students engaged in education. The pilot has developed a number of trainings being delivered to all school staff and specific workshops also pastoral care staff.
Strong Links with professional treatment that ensure specialist services are equipped to work collaboratively with schools to support students to make changes and remain engaged in education. Training modules have also been developed for those that have not worked within school environments.
Clearly understood policies and or procedures that create a shared understanding of expectations for the whole school community and promote consistent, considered and proportional responses as the need arises. These are developed through consultation and are effective when they are regularly referred to.
Delivering these transferrable resources and providing support to twelve schools across the country the organisations involved are receiving positive feedback in terms of the pilot and intend to make these resources available to the wider communities.