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Diocesan School for Girls

Implementing a Whole School Approach to Drug Education.


To scaffold a drug education learning programme from Year 1–13

Background situation:

The health programmes in the junior and middle /senior school working in isolation. Overcrowded curriculum in the junior school and health taught on a three year cycle. In the middle and senior school different teachers often taught the same class for Health and Physical Education.

Process Undertaken:

  • Health consultation. This involved consulting with the school community – parents, students, and staff. This included a Health and Physical Education Community Consultation; student evaluations of present units; consultation with the Guidance Counsellors; and health staff to identify student needs for drug education at the different year levels.
  • A review of the existing Health programme.
  • Review the present drug education programme to align with the Drug Education Matrix (Drug Education Matrix of Learning Outcomes for Levels 1 - 8 within the New Zealand Health and Physical Education Curriculum)  and with the New Zealand Curriculum, 2007.
  • Authentic learning and assessment opportunities for example: Year 10 Sweet Sixteen Party (L5A3 Investigate and practice safety procedures and strategies to manage risk situations) curriculum link assessment; using authentic scenarios that students brainstorm.
  • Student voice through KWL – what they know, what they want to know and how they learn.
  • Review School Drug and Alcohol policy to align with the teaching and learning programmes.
  • Parent education evening – inform about teaching and learning in drug education units and building parent knowledge to support them in dealing with young people around drug and alcohol use/misuse.
  • Student health promotion in the community.
  • Pamphlets developed by students with strategies to keep self and others safe at a party.
  • Student-led code of conduct for keeping safe at a party for the whole school community to share with parents.


TIC Health & Physical Education Junior School

  • Transition between years 6 and 7
  • Years 1–6 Health
  • Identifying junior health needs and developing drug education.

Head of Department Health & Physical Education, and TIC Health

  • Years 7–13 Health Education

Head of Department Health & Physical Education, TIC Health & Physical Education - Junior School, TIC Health, previous TIC Health.

  • Overview of years 1–13 Drug Education

Senior Management:

  • Review of the Drug Education policy


  • Student Well-being Facilitators
  • Caring for yourself and others resource
  • Strengthening drug education in school communities Handbook - Ministry of Youth Development
  • Drug Education – a guide for Principals and Boards of Trustees- MOE
  • Cannabis and consequences – Commonwealth Dept of Education Science and Training Consequences of Cannabis – FADE resource


  • Students needs identified around drug education.
  • Drug Education to be included in the junior school.
  • Whole school scaffolded drug education teaching and learning programme years 1–13 aligning with the drug education Matrix and the New Zealand Curriculum.
  • Identifying other possible teaching resources.



  • Our drug education units give good coverage on the effects on hauora – choices and consequences; communication and relationships and strategies to support and protect self and others.


  • Coverage of the Drug education matrix is light in the areas of rights, responsibilities, polices and laws and critical thinking about societal issues and critical action. We are currently building ideas for these areas
  • To develop more authentic teaching and learning programmes and meaningful assessments for year 7 students. This includes sourcing more appropriate resources
  • The contexts for drug education –What is appropriate for the different year levels within the contexts of tobacco, alcohol etc. ensuring student needs are met
  • For teachers to coordinate the learning between year levels.


  • Better links to teaching and learning in religious studies
  • Scaffolding learning from year 1–13
  • Aligning with the drug education matrix
  • Strengthening links with the junior school


  • Knowledge verses skills teaching – problem solving, decision making, social skills, or the “facts”
  • Time required to co-ordinate, develop, implement and evaluate

Lessons learned

  • Small steps at a time
  • Evaluate and review as you go

Success factors

  • Scaffolded programme of drug education appropriate to the year level from year 1–13
  • Developing health pathways into the senior school – year 11 Health & Physical Education Option NCEA Level 1 and year 12 Health option NCEA level 2 approved for 2009
  • Parents increased understanding around Drug Education.