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Letter to Principals Concerning Alcohol Resources

Posted by Schooldays Newshound, on 13/12/2022. Letter to Principals Concerning Alcohol Resources Tags: Education And Politics

A circular letter, as advised by the HSE and the Department of Health, addressed alcohol resources for Principals:

Dear Principal,

This note is to confirm that, as advised by the HSE and the Department of Health, it is not appropriate to use resources or materials produced or funded by the alcohol industry for education and awareness on alcohol in schools, or for teachers to attend, in their professional capacity, associated training which may be offered by organisations funded by the alcohol industry.

The Department of Health further advises that the involvement of organisations funded by the alcohol industry in providing such resources in schools represents a distinct conflict of interest, and that there is no place for the alcohol industry in schools. It recommends that schools use independent and trusted sources of information when engaging with students on issues around alcohol.

The NCCA provides guidelines for teachers in choosing resources for use in their SPHE programme. In these guidelines the NCCA encourages teachers to question the origin and funding of such resources as well as the evidence base used in their production. If, for example, resources are funded by parties with conflicts of interests, such as alcohol resources produced by Drinkaware, which is funded by the alcohol industry, then in line with the clear advice of the HSE and the Department of Health they should not be used in schools. In the same way, these guidelines apply in regard to resources funded by other industry sectors where there is a potential conflict of interest.

These guidelines are available on the NCCA’s online toolkit here: Preparation for Teaching (

There are evidence-based resources on alcohol and drugs for schools developed by the HSE with the support of the Department of Education and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). The 'Know the Score' programme is a substance misuse programme published in 2019 for Transition Year or 5th year pupils. Know the Score can be found here: Know the Score Resources for Post Primary Teachers -, and associated training is available for teachers.

In addition to this, ‘Making Healthy Choices’ resources for Junior Cycle SPHE are being developed. Unit 1 is currently available on the NCCA’s online toolkit for SPHE to support teachers in addressing issues of alcohol, tobacco and drug use. Units 2 and 3 of this programme are due to be published in 2023.

In some areas, staff from the local HSE Drugs and Alcohol Taskforce may be willing to talk to students about issues related to drug and alcohol use in the local area, as an external resource for schools. The Department provides clear guidance to schools on the engagement of outside speakers and on the use of external resources to assist in delivering the curriculum. These guidelines are most recently outlined in updated circular 0042/2018 for primary schools and 0043/2018 for post primary schools.

Programmes delivered by visitors or external agencies must use appropriate evidencebased methodologies with clear educational outcomes.

These circulars also require that all materials proposed for use by external providers must be approved in advance by the principal and Board of Management, be age and stage appropriate for pupils and be in line with the ethos of the school, and the principles of the SPHE curriculum.



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