Wadebridge School

Drugs Policy


For the purposes of this policy the term drugs includes alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, medicines, new psychoactive substances (‘legal highs’) and volatile substances, unless otherwise specified.

Wadebridge School is committed to creating a conducive learning environment within which all young people have access to the highest quality of education which enables them to develop and achieve to the best of their ability.  With this in mind there can be no place for drugs on the school premises and school staff will take all necessary action to ensure the wider school community are safe and also that learning is not negatively impacted.  It is however also recognised that pupils face many challenges as they grow up and therefore need to be properly equipped to deal with the challenges drugs present.  This policy outlines the school’s approach and a range of interventions which are designed to send out a clear messages that drugs will not be tolerated, whilst also creating a supportive environment within which young people can proactively discuss their drug related concerns as well as being able to access pastoral and specialist support.

At Wadebridge School, we have an effective system of student support and a carefully structured programme of Drug Education.

Teaching young people about drugs is part of every school’s programme of education. The emphasis will be on support and staff will cover the legal aspects of drugs (possession, supply, effects and consequences), understanding health issues connected to using substances and how to resist peer pressure. The drugs education programme will be delivered through Personal Development (PD) and Science lessons supplemented by assemblies and specialist visits by external agencies e.g. YZUP. Students will also be informed of where to find information and support both in-school and on-line. 

External support may include the use of the Police and their Passive Drug Dog, under the Section 23 Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.  Normally this will be conducted in two phases: firstly, assemblies to involve all students where students are given up-to date information and advice about specific drugs, this information will also include students being informed about an operational phase; secondly, the operational phase where the drugs dog will be in school conducting spot checks. In both phases the aim is education and prevention, not punishment in order to enable the elimination of drugs from the school site and to help discourage use.

Any issues that arise during the operational phase are entirely the responsibility of the school except where it is suspected the law has been broken in respect of ‘possession with intent to supply’.

Along with Wadebridge School, all the North Cornwall secondary schools including Budehaven Community College, Bodmin College and Sir James Smith’s - Camelford are committed to using drugs dogs as part of their education programmes and their use does not signify that any school has a drugs problem.

Despite the approaches described above, there is still likely to be some students who experiment and use drugs. To manage such situations, we have developed clear policies and procedures. Our aim is to develop a consistent approach to dealing with and managing drug misuse at Wadebridge School. The over-riding aim is to ensure the well-being of all our students. Instances of possession, purchase, use of, supply of drugs on the school premises will therefore be regarded with the utmost seriousness.

The approaches and guidelines undertaken by Wadebridge School, are those outlined under the Department for Education and ACPO – Drug advice for schools: DFE-00001-2012.

Whole School Approach

A range of information will be made available to young people – both formally (through the curriculum) and informally via student support, leaflets/ posters and relevant websites. Young people are supported and encouraged to talk about drugs so that appropriate services e.g. YZUP can be accessed if required. It is recognised that some young people may be at greater risk of drug use and these risk factors are clearly understood by all staff. Relevant up to date information and training will be provided to all staff, with more specific training provided for key members of the Student Support Team. Parents will be able to access relevant information about the schools approach to drug use through the school website.

1. Aims: 

1.1 Ensure the well-being of all our students 

1.2 Prevent the incidents of drug misuse affecting learning or leading to personal problems. 

1.3 Encourage students to refrain from drug misuse and if at risk, to seek appropriate support.

1.4 Understand vulnerability factors and provide early support to those students most at risk.

1.5 Ensure teachers and school staff have access to training and resource so that they are equipped to recognise the signs of substance use and respond appropriately. 

1.5 Parents are aware of the schools approach and involved where appropriate.


2. Procedures for staff to follow in response to any drugs related incident: 


2.1 Ascertain on the balance of probabilities whether the student is in any immediate danger or under the influence of any substance (controlled or prescribed medications). If they are, seek medical help following school procedures. If in any doubt speak to the school first aider for medical advice.

2.2 If a student has made a disclosure to you about their, or another student’s involvement with drugs, contact the Student Support Team in the first instance.

2.3 If you have discovered a student or group of students with an illegal substance or with an unknown substance on the school site, inform a senior member of staff immediately.  

2.4 Action to be taken by senior member of staff: Remove and confiscate the substance from the student concerned, preferably in the presence of another member of staff. Where students are suspected of concealing drugs on their person or amongst their possessions, every effort should be first made to secure the voluntary production of any substances, for example, by asking them to turn out their pockets or to empty their school bag or locker. If the student refuses it will be explained to them that a search will be undertaken without their consent if necessary, and it would be better if their consent was given. These powers will be used in accordance with DfE guidance on Searching, Screening and Confiscation.  This search will not require pupils to remove any clothing other than outer clothing. Any substance or items seized will be entered into the School-Police Drugs Seizure Book. Staff need to ensure that the substance is either disposed of safely (if appropriate) or stored appropriately in a secure location before handing to the Police.

2.5 The member of SLT will work with the Key Stage Team to investigate the incident fully. All statements must be written by the member of staff or the student under the direction of the staff interviewing. All statements should be taken as close to the timing of the incident as possible. This is in line with other incidents that are covered under our Behaviour for Learning Policy.

2.6 When an investigation has been undertaken and the balance of probabilities decided, a meeting will take place between the staff investigating and the Headteacher  to determine the appropriate outcome. 

2.7 In the event of an exclusion being deemed appropriate, a senior member of staff will contact parents. Parents will be directed to the Drugs Policy on the school website, and will be given signposting in respect of support services available from partner agencies.

3. Dealing with drug related incidents: 

3.1 Any student involved in an incident of drug misuse in school will be dealt with immediately. However, there are specific sanctions and support procedures that will be used as a starting point for any drugs related incidents. The procedures that will be followed are detailed below: 

 Type of Misconduct

 Minimum Response


Smoking tobacco products or vaping (using e-cigarettes) on the way to and from the school, including school transport and public service vehicles (where transport passes are issued or fares purchased)

The student will be spoken to by a senior member of staff and detained at break/lunch and letter will be sent home with support offered.



Smoking or vaping (using e-cigarettes) on the school premises or being found in the presence of those smoking 

(See associated Smoke Free Policy)

For the first occasion a student will be detained at break/lunch and a letter will be sent home with support offered. On a second occasion an after school detention will be given and parents informed followed up by a letter home. On a third occasion a Fixed Term Exclusion shall be given as this will be seen as persistent disobedience of school rules. For any subsequent offences sanctions will link with the stages of exclusion. Students will either be placed on Stage One of the schools Stages of Exclusion procedure or if the student is already on a stage, that stage will be reviewed and likely to increase.


Possession of alcohol 

Distribution of alcohol 

Drinking (Consumption) of alcohol 

Solvent abuse (inc glue/nitrous oxide)

Substance abuse (inc legal highs/poppers)

Incorrect use of controlled/prescribed medicines

Possession of Class B or C drugs 

 Fixed term exclusion.


Possession of Class A drugs 

Supplying of Class A, B or C drugs 

Fixed Term Exclusion with Permanent exclusion being at the discretion of the Headteacher.

3.2 Any health and safety issues are of primary consideration. 
3.3 All aspects of the incident are investigated before deciding on any course of action. This may involve taking statements from the students/staff and may also mean removing the student(s) from the scene or from school whilst the investigation takes place. 
3.4 Parents/carers, the police and other external agencies and partnerships will be notified as appropriate. Where it is deemed appropriate internal support would be offered and in some cases external services accessed.
4. For Guidance: Warning signs of possible misuse 
4.1 Some signs of drug abuse can be confused with signs of other problems of quite innocent behaviour. Therefore, it is important that all staff (teaching and non-teaching) should take extreme care about not jumping to a conclusion, which might be inappropriate. However, in order to support staff in their identification of possible drug mixtures amongst students, we have grouped signs into three categories. If a member of staff has any concerns they should liaise with the Student Support Team (refer to 2.2)
4.2 Equipment that may be used for drug use:

Containers made from silver foil perhaps discoloured by heat 
Small bottles or pillboxes 
Stash cans – disguised as everyday objects e.g. deodorants or coke cans
Twists of paper 
Syringes or needles 
Empty solvent containers 
Cigarette lighters 
Drinks cans with extra holes and signs of scorching 
Spoons discoloured by heat 
Sugar lumps 
Spent matches 
Plastic bags or butane gas containers 
Stamps, stickers, transfers
4.3 Physical symptoms/signs of drug use:
Sudden changes in mood/behaviour, unusual outbreaks of temper 
Disregard for physical appearance
Loss of appetite or increase in consumption of set foods 
Use of deodorant to cover smell of drugs or solvents 
Drowsiness, sleepiness or slurred speech 
Unusual small, stained or marks on clothing or body or around the mouth and nose 
Marked interest in glue or solvent based products 
Soreness or redness around the eyes or mouth 
Flushed face or neck
Dilated pupils
Small groups meeting in secretive places 
Unsteady on feet 
Staining on hands
4.4 Social Presentation:
Keeping away from other students 
Being the subject of rumour about drugs
Use of drug slang 
Excessive spending or borrowing of money
Unexplained loss of money or belongings from home 
Perpetual stealing of money or goods that are then sold 
Changes in attendance patterns 
Reluctance to participate in school activities 
Loss of interest in a sport or a hobby 
Sudden changes in friendship group 
Performance at school shows a marked decline 
Strangers on or around the school premises
Sources of further information:
FRANK - http://www.talktofrank.com
Drug Sense UK - http://drugsenseuk.co.uk/home.php
Policy written by Mr L Bateman – Dec 2018
Date Approved by Governors – Dec 2018

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