"The Year 9 Wellbeing Mentors, with the support of the Catholic Education Office, have been engaged in a special project since 2013 to develop a relevent Drug Education Program for our students"
Our aim was to develop a course which targets the specific needs of our student cohort and community. The focus of this program, which occurred during Term 2, is to help students develop resilience and make positive choices in relation to drugs and alcohol. It was designed to run in tandem to the safe choices with alcohol unit in the Physical Education course and sits within the National Safe Schools Framework and the Protective Practices strand of the Child Protection Curriculum.
Our objectives were to increase available information surrounding student knowledge of both legal and illegal drugs and then to support them in developing resilience when faced with choices surrounding drugs and alcohol.The team developed a series of surveys for staff, students and parents to ascertain their current knowledge surrounding drugs. From this information lesson plans and resources were developed and implemented through the Pastoral Care program. At the completion of the unit students and staff were again surveyed to discover whether knowledge and resilience had been increased. We found that in the area of knowledge most students had increased their understanding of the negative physical effects of drug use both in the short and long term. In terms of resilience we found that the number of students who felt that they could say no to drugs had increased as a result of the knowledge they had gained through the program.
One of the questions asked of parents was their confidence in supporting their children with information surrounding drugs. This is particularly important as students said that one of their key reference points for their decision making is family and friends. A third of respondents said that they had some information but that they would like more. This means that as a family member or parent it is important that you know the facts.One of the things we discovered in the project was that this is an ever-changing field thus we need to be constantly updating our information and teaching program. Having achieved our objectives what we would like to do is to continue working on our resources and support students and parents with this issue. A possible outcome would be developing a parent resource for supporting your child at home. The College will inform parents of further developments in this area.