On Monday 5th March we were pleased to welcome Mr Richard Boxer, an Education Consultant as part of a local authority, who is a qualified trainer, facilitator and public speaker with over 20 years’ experience of working in the field of substance misuse. He conducted a series of workshops on Drugs Awareness with the Senior girls, a session with staff and an evening workshop with parents. His talks were informative, entertaining and extremely useful. Here, Mr Boxer gives us an insight into his day at St Augustine’s Priory:
‘I was very pleased to have been asked to return to St Augustine’s Priory on Monday 5th March to once again deliver drug awareness education to the students, staff and parents. It was a pleasure to be able to speak to the students in particular as I knew they could be relied upon to ask the interesting, probing and intelligent questions I had expected about this sometimes difficult subject.
The girls were separated into mixed year groups and received slightly different talks using age- appropriate content. Years 7 and 8 were taught about the content of a cigarette and discussed some of the 4000 chemicals contained within. They considered what type of people took drugs, encompassing stereotypes and bias, and named drugs they had heard of.
Years 9 and 10 learned about the various types of drugs and how our mood and environment could affect risk. They discussed addiction and how illegal drugs have no listed contents, limiting our ability to make informed decisions about using them.
Years 11, 12 and 13 looked at how drugs and alcohol are linked to poor decision-making and the nature of consent. They also learned about current drug trends, links to internet safety and how to act to avoid harm.
The girls’ beliefs were challenged and each group was encouraged to ask questions within a safe, open and honest environment, which I’m glad to say they demonstrated with aplomb!
It is important to remember that these sessions should form only a small part of the girls’ on-going journey. Drug education is not simply about imparting information, but about skill and attitude development. The process of building resilience and enabling young people to make informed choices is ideally built up over the course of an entire school career.
In an era where the pace of life grows increasingly faster and we demand instant gratification, we must remember to take our time – to consider, reflect, weigh up our options and make healthy decisions. While the access to and availability of drugs is now easier (and yet more complex), than ever, we must remain calm, focussed and resilient. In a time where we are confronted by terms such as ‘fake news’ or ‘alternate facts’ we must remember that knowledge is power and that the more informed we keep ourselves, the less scary the world of drugs will be.
I would encourage parents to make the time to sit down with your daughters and discuss what has been raised this week. Explore together, learn together, agree boundaries together and feel safer together.’Categories: Priory Post Senior Sixth Form Whole School