This policy has been authorised by the Principal. The policy relates to the misuse of controlled drugs and other substances and applies to all students at Ashbourne College (College). It applies at all times whether or not the student is in the care of the College. The procedures and sanctions may be adapted as appropriate to meet the policy aims and the circumstances of each case. There is a separate policy for staff in the Staff Code of Conduct.
2. Important Definitions
2.1 Drugs and substances
For the purposes of this policy, these expressions refer to the possession, use and supply of controlled drugs and the paraphernalia of drugs or substances intended to resemble drugs, or “legal” drugs which can be obtained from a chemist shop, performance enhancing drugs, anabolic steroids, glue and other substances held or supplied in each case for purposes of misuse.
2.2 Prohibited items
This expression refers to the possession, use and supply of controlled drugs as defined in section 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
This policy relates to the following policies and guidance:
4. Aims and policy
The central aim of this policy is to keep drugs out of the College, which the College aims to do so through:
Involving all members of the Ashbourne community (e.g. staff, students and their parents) to update this policy
Making clear the severe consequences of those students found to be using, supplying or being in possession of banned substances
Drugs education forms an important component of the PSHEE (Year 11) and Personal Tutoring (Year 12) programmes. All staff also undertake training about drugs education to ensure they are fully up-to-date and can inform students throughout their time at the College.
The College utilises at least one Inset Day per academic year to ensure that students are educated about the dangers of using drugs. Through these sessions the College aims to make students aware of the external pressures and look at strategies enabling the individual to take responsibility for their own decisions. Students will develop an understanding of the effect and nature of drugs and their possible effects on the user linked to an understanding of the law in relation to drugs and drug taking. These sessions will involve the following:
The physical dangers involved in consuming certain substances
The legal dangers of committing what amounts to criminal acts
The social dangers of involvement with the criminal drug organisations.
Every complaint or report of involvement with drugs and substances will be followed up and investigated.
If a student is found to have illegal substances within their system, then they should accept that the College is well within its rights to expel them from the College. In cases where the College decides to allow the student to continue at the College, they will be informed that a future test will take place and if they are found with drugs in their system at that time, then they will be expelled.
If a student is a repeat offender then this will lead to automatic exclusion from the College.
Invariably, those students who have a history with substance usage will not be accepted at the College. However, there are certain scenarios where the College may feel that the risk of accepting a particular student is minimal. In cases where these students are accepted, they will usually be tested before the start of their programme to establish what is in their system. At some point during their time in education at the College they will be re-tested; the re-test does not have to be as a result of suspicion. If the student is found to have banned substances within their system at this test then, irrespective of whether they were initially tested by the College prior to their start date, they will be automatically excluded.
7. Supplying Drugs
Any students supplying drugs, whether inside or outside of the College premises, must expect to be expelled immediately, even if they are about to sit public examinations.
At the point that the College believes that a student has been supplying drugs or substances, they will be suspended immediately and will not be allowed to return to College until a full investigation has taken place.
8. Possession or Use of Drugs
Any student possessing or using drugs on or near the College premises, or whilst participating in a College activity, must expect to be expelled immediately, even if they are about to sit public examinations.
At the point that the College believes that a student has been in possession of drugs or substances, they will be suspended immediately and will not be allowed to return to College until a full investigation has taken place.
9.1 Informed consent
Before any search is undertaken consent will usually be sought from the student and their parents (or guardian) – in cases where the student is over the age of 18 consent from the parent will not be required. If either the student or parent refuses consent, they will be asked to say why they have refused. The College will be entitled to draw inferences from their response and general demeanour and the police may be informed.
9.2 Searches without consent
In relation to alcohol and prohibited items as defined in Section 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, the Principal, and staff authorised by the Principal, may search a student or a student’s possessions without their consent where they have reasonable grounds for suspecting that a student has a prohibited item in their possession.
9.3 Searches – what happens?
If a member of staff has reason to believe a student possesses or has stored drugs or substances it may be appropriate for the staff member to carry out a search of:
The student’s outer clothing
The student’s personal property (e.g. bag)
Searches will be conducted in such a manner as to minimise embarrassment or distress. Any search of a student or their possessions will be carried out in the presence of the student and, wherever possible, another member of staff.
If the student is to be searched, the person carrying out the search and the second member of staff present will be the same gender as the student.
9.4 Items Found
Where the staff member finds anything which they have reasonable grounds for suspecting is a prohibited item, they may seize, retain and dispose of that item.
9.4.1 Police involvement
If the College seizes a controlled drug it may be disposed of if there is good reason to do so. Otherwise the College will deliver it to the police as soon as reasonably practicable. In all other cases, the College may decide to request the involvement of the police from the outset. If the police suspect that a student possesses or has stored drugs, substances or related paraphernalia, the police may elect to investigate using their own procedures or may pass the matter back to the College to investigate.
9.4.2 Contacting the Police
The College may use its discretion to decide whether Police involvement is appropriate. The College’s police liaison officer is Lee Kirby (Director of Studies). However, the Designated Safeguard Lead (DSL), Principal or another senior member of staff may contact the police in the absence of the Director of Studies; usually the DSL.
At the point that the College notes that a student is in possession of or has stored drugs or substances, the student will usually be suspended immediately and will not be allowed to return to College until a full investigation has taken place.
We encourage students to discuss their anxieties about drugs or substances in confidence with a member of staff or the College counsellor. Matters brought into counselling by a student or their parents, in circumstances that are genuine, will usually be ‘ring-fenced’ from disciplinary sanctions or adverse report. This is particularly true if the student has been seen to take pro-active measures to disclose their difficulties with drug or substance usage that is not linked with any concerns raised by the College. In such situations, if the College decides to ‘ring-fence’ the disclosure, the College will work closely with the student and their family to put measures in place to help them. However, if at a later point the student is found to be either using, carrying or supplying drugs, they will be expelled from the College.
Every parent should read through and discuss this Policy with their child. The College encourages open discussion between parents and students so that parents are aware of the issues and pressures facing their child.
If parents of students attending the College premises appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will be asked to leave and the member of staff making the request should refer the matter to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) or one of their deputies.
In addition, if a member of staff suspects that a parent has driven or will drive whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the member of staff should report the matter to the DSL or one of their deputies.
If the DSL or deputy reasonably believes that a student is at immediate risk of harm from a parent who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the student will not be released into the care of the parent until appropriate measures have been taken. These may include involving another member of the family, social services or, if necessary, the police.
12. Testing for Drugs
12.1 Types of Testing
The College tests for drugs and substance misuse using either a urine or hair sample. Within this policy, details will be given about urine samples - please contact the Director of Studies for more information about hair samples.
12.2 Urine sample
If there is reason to suspect that a student has been involved with drugs or substances, they may be asked to supply, under medical supervision, a urine sample for analysis.
The reason for this policy is to:
Deter the use of drugs and substances.
To absolve those who have been wrongly suspected.
Reason to suspect use of illegal drugs may arise as a result of information or a complaint received or because of a student’s behaviour.
12.3 Informed consent
The consent to a drugs test is requested of the student rather than their parents, even if the student is under 16 years of age, provided they are of sufficient maturity and understanding and gives their informed consent. The member of staff leading the search will determine whether or not the student is able to provide this consent and may request the additional opinion of a medically qualified member of staff.
12.4 Notifying parents
Reasonable endeavours will be made to notify a parent, guardian or education guardian of the requirement for a urine sample and the reasons for that requirement before a urine sample is requested and taken.
12.5 Medical supervision
The urine sample will be taken under medical supervision. All due care will be taken to respect the student’s privacy and human rights.
If a student refuses to provide a urine sample they will be asked the reasons for the refusal. The College will be entitled to draw inferences from their response and general demeanour and the police may be informed.
12.7 Testing procedures
These will be in accordance with standard good practice – further details will be provided at the time of the testing.
12.8 Medical record
The outcome of the test, whether positive or negative, will not form part of the student’s permanent medical record.
When the College receives the laboratory report:
Reasonable attempts will be made to notify a parent by telephone;
If the result is negative, the second sample will be destroyed immediately;
If the result is positive, the second sample will be made available for independent analysis.
Sensitive personal information about students is disclosed only on a ‘need to know’ basis with careful attention to the students’ rights and needs.
12.11 Subsequent action
The College will treat a positive test, although not infallible, as evidence that the student has been using drugs or substances. A meeting will be arranged at which:
The evidence of the positive sample and all other relevant evidence will be put to the student who will be invited to respond.
Their response will be heard and considered and further enquiries will be made if necessary.
The College will make a finding of facts based on the evidence and supported by reasons.
Sanction: If the College’s decision is that the student has been using drugs, the student should understand that the College is well within its rights to expel them. In cases where the College decides to allow the student to continue at the College, they will be informed that a future test will take place and if they are found with drugs in their system at that time, then they will be expelled.
This policy will be reviewed at the following times:
During the annual Safeguarding meeting that takes place in June.
Following any serious incident involving students and drugs.
Following the issue of any new guidance from the Department for Education
The review will be carried out by the Director of Studies and the DSL. Any changes must be approved by Principal.
Effective date of the policy
Teaching staff / all staff / parents / Students on request