The area under investigation was the implementation of a drug education programme in a primary school. The main aim of the study was to examine the effectiveness of the drug education programme. The study was conducted within a single primary school, involving years five and six pupils during a three year period. Data was collected using a variety of methods. The concerns, views and attitudes were sought from staff, governors and parents through a series of semi-structured interviews. Data was gathered from year five and six pupils using questionnaires, attitude surveys, group interviews and a ‘draw and write’ activity. Classroom observations were undertaken and staff were also involved in a ‘nominal group technique’ method which produced a whole staff view of the value of teaching drug education in the primary school. The findings from the study clearly indicate that drug education is seen by the majority of those involved to be of enormous value and should be taught in the primary school. The study found that most of the children by the time they reach the end of Key Stage 2, had quite an extensive knowledge of drugs and drug issues. However, this is not the case for all the pupils. Evidence from the study showed there was a degree of variability in the level of awareness between years five and six. Progressive focussing involved ‘action’ being continually undertaken. This ‘action’ was based on the findings from the ‘research’ work carried out during this study. The drug education programmes of study were redeveloped and implemented during the main study. The study suggests that there is a need to address several areas of concern expressed by both staff and pupils. The areas needing careful consideration before the next drug education programmes of study are developed include: the length of individual sessions; extension of the number of sessions during the year; creating a higher profile for tobacco and alcohol; developing further ‘life-skills’ sessions. The study concluded that the drug education programme of study as presented to the Year 5 and 6 pupils was effective based on the set of success criteria developed at the beginning of the study
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