To nurture the skills of resilience is key to providing young people with the ability to cope with stress, adversity, failure and challenges. Resilience is evident when young people have a greater ability to “bounce back” when faced with difficulties and achieve positive outcomes.
Resilience is required to say no to sharing an alcoholic drink with friends and to take responsibility for seeking expert advice and support when it is needed.
Alcohol is part of society and children and young people need to be supported to use alcohol, if they so choose, in a responsible and informed way. There are issues with alcohol use more immediate for schools and educators – use of alcohol can affect attendance and attainment in the short and long term.
The Department for Education (DfE) has produced research (2010) which shows an association between 14-year-olds drinking once or twice a week and lower scores at GCSE – a drop of around 20 points or three grades.
Drinking on most days is associated with an 80-point drop. The paper also found that drinking was associated with other negative outcomes, such as the likelihood of being NEET and not remaining in full-time education beyond the age of 16.
Research has identified some of the things that make young people vulnerable to using alcohol and drugs. These include: being in trouble at school, having friends who take drugs and drink, starting to smoke early, and/or staying out late without parents’ knowledge. Conversely, there are also factors that can protect young people, including good family relationships, clear rules and boundaries and positive school environments
By the end of primary school pupils should know:
- The facts about legal and illegal harmful substances and associated risks, including smoking, alcohol use, and drug taking.
By the end of secondary school pupils should know:
- The facts about legal substances and illegal substances, including drug-taking, and the associated risks, including the link to serious mental health conditions.
- The physical and psychological risks associated with alcohol consumption and what constitutes (relatively) safe alcohol consumption.
- The physical and psychological consequences of addiction, including alcohol dependency.