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Publication - FOI / EIR Release

PSHE framework and drugs education: FOI release

Published: 9 Mar 2018
Directorate:
Learning Directorate

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/18/00607
Date received: 19 February 2018
Date responded: 7 March 2018

Information requested

Information on who should deliver PSHE lessons on drugs education and what percentage of PSHE delivered in schools must include drugs education.

Response

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you requested on the percentage of PSHE delivered in schools including drugs education. The reason why we do not have the information is explained below.

The answer to your request on who should deliver lessons on drugs education is Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) is the national approach to learning and teaching for young people aged 3 to 18 in Scotland. It provides significant flexibility, within broad national guidelines, for teachers to develop lessons which best meet the needs of individual learners. Teachers, head teachers and other professional educational practitioners are best placed to decide what is taught in Scotland's schools.

Health and Wellbeing is one of the eight curricular areas in CfE. Its substantial importance is reflected in its position at the centre of the curriculum and at the heart of children's learning – as well as a central focus of the Scottish Attainment Challenge and the National Improvement Framework for Education. Along with literacy and numeracy it is one of the three core areas that are the responsibility of all staff in the school.

Learning in Health and Wellbeing is designed to ensure that children and young people develop the knowledge and understanding, skills, capabilities and attributes which they need for mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing. Health and Wellbeing isn't a single subject or class but is organised into six areas: Mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing; Planning for choices and changes; Physical education, physical activity and sport; Food and health; Substance misuse; and Relationships, sexual health and parenthood.

Some areas are the responsibility of all staff in a school. Others have a specific focus, with links to other health and wellbeing organisers and other curriculum areas.

For each curriculum area, CfE has experiences and outcomes which set out what each pupil is expected to learn and how they are expected to progress through the four levels of learning. Progression to qualifications is described under the fifth level, the senior phase.

The aim is to also join up more subjects on topic-based learning - using skills and knowledge from more than one subject within a project. So a project on drugs could combine elements of geography, maths, art and the sciences. It is up to teachers (and hopefully pupils too) to decide what to study against the experiences and outcomes. Schools are encouraged to do their own thing, using people and places in their local area, or the individual interests of classes and pupils to choose topics to focus on. The idea is that this will make lessons more relevant and therefore more rewarding for children and young people. You can access the experiences and outcomes here.

In addition, Education Scotland have developed benchmarks to provide clarity on the national standards expected within each curriculum area at each level. They set out clear lines of progression across all curriculum areas from Early to Fourth Levels. Their purpose is to make clear what learners need to know and be able to do to progress through the levels, and to support consistency in teachers' and other practitioners' professional judgements. The benchmarks are designed to be concise and accessible, with sufficient detail to communicate clearly the standards expected for each curriculum level. You can access the benchmarks here.

Through CfE, children and young people will learn about a variety of substances including alcohol, medicines, drugs, tobacco and solvents. They will explore the impact risk taking behaviour has on life choices and health. By educating children and young people about substance misuse and the impact it can have on their life and health, the hope is this will prevent them making unhealthy choices. All learning is appropriate to the age and stage of the child or young person. For example, in the latter stages of education, learners will be able to:

  • understand the impact that ongoing misuse of tobacco, alcohol and drugs can have on a person's health, future life choices and options.

  • identify safe and unsafe behaviours and actions.

  • know that alcohol and drugs can affect people's ability to make decisions.

To assist with learning, Choices For Life is a substance misuse education programme for schoolchildren from P7 to S6. The programme comprises, a series of online health education events broadcast in conjunction with Education Scotland using GLOW and a website and supporting materials for teachers, developed with input from Education Scotland and Young Scot. More information on Choices for Life is available on the website.

Reasons for not providing information

The Scottish Government does not have the information.

The Scottish Government does not have the information you asked for on the percentage of PSHE delivered in schools including drugs education because Curriculum for Excellence provides significant flexibility, within broad national guidelines, for teachers to develop lessons which best meet the needs of individual learners. Teachers, head teachers and other professional educational practitioners are best placed to decide what is taught in Scotland's schools. The Scottish Government does not monitor how schools or teachers decide to teach certain subject.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

Published:
9 Mar 2018
PSHE framework and drugs education: FOI release