School Communities

DARTA works with school communities to support and complement existing drug education programs. Adopting a whole-school approach, involving students, staff, families and the wider community is widely acknowledged as best practice and more likely to lead to positive outcomes.

DARTA presentations are delivered across the whole school community, including students (Year 10 and above), teachers and parents.

All DARTA workshops are aligned with the new Australian Health and Physical Education Curriculum, with a series of sequential school presentations developed for students in Years 10, 11 and 12. It is recommended that the three sessions are delivered over the final three years of a student’s school career.

Teacher presentations can be tailored to suit the audience and the time available. Sessions can be delivered during ‘pupil-free days’ and last for a number of hours or be provided during a staff meeting.

Parents are vital partners in school-based drug education programs and essential if a whole-school approach is to be adopted. DARTA presentations can be tailored to the school’s needs and cover a range of issues, as well as promote the partnership between home and the classroom in the reinforcement of drug education.

To assist schools, information has been provided to assist in the preparation for, and promotion of a visit by DARTA. A range of materials and resources to support the presentations are also available below.

Preparing for a School Visit

Schools may wish to inform parents about a DARTA visit and provide them with information about the student presentations. Abstracts outlining key areas covered in each of the three student sessions are available. If a parent session is planned schools may wish to promote the event widely. Once again, abstracts of the sessions have been provided. These, together with biographical information and downloadable images of Paul Dillon can be used in any promotional material the school decides to produce.

A range of promotional material including downloadable images of Paul and biographical introductions are available.

Abstracts for student, staff and parent presentations that can be used for promotional purposes have been provided.

Supporting Materials

Once student presentations have been delivered it is important that there is some sort of follow-up activity conducted by the school. Research shows that a ‘stand-alone’ information session is not best practice and DARTA strongly encourages teachers to take time to discuss the content of the presentation. This does not have to be a formal lesson, with a simple classroom discussion likely to assist the students in working through the messages delivered during the session. To assist teachers, a range of materials have been provided:

Student Activities

Downloadable sheets that include a range of simple classroom activities that can be conducted after a DARTA student presentation are available. Designed to encourage classroom discussion on topics raised during the session, teachers do not need any specific drug knowledge to conduct these activities.

Scenario Activities

During follow-up sessions, teachers may wish to examine particular topics in more detail. Developed as part of a ‘strength-based approach’, these scenarios and accompanying activities introduce and/or strengthen a range of skills including identifying risks, decision-making, refusal skills, and help-seeking.

Useful Website Resources

A list of DARTA recommended websites for teachers has been made available that provide good quality alcohol and other drug information. Links to a number of web-based resources that can be incorporated into a school’s drug education program have also been included.

Fact Sheets

These downloadable resources provide additional information on topics raised during the presentation, including ‘How to look after a drunk friend’ and ‘Alcohol poisoning’. If students are looking for more information, they can be directed to these, or they can be printed off and distributed after the session.

School Surveys

DARTA has developed surveys examining alcohol and other drug (AOD) issues for a number of school communities across the country.

Based on questions from the Australian Secondary School Students’ Alcohol and Other Drug (ASSAD) survey, schools are not only able to use the results to assess current prevalence rates of substance use amongst their students but also to compare these with a national sample.

Parents may also be surveyed if required with questionnaires examining such topics as their attitudes and values, as well as their behaviours around the provision of alcohol, and teenage parties and gatherings.

The data collected can assist in the development and provision of more effective drug education, as well as be invaluable in the roll-out of pastoral care/wellbeing programs. Schools have also reported that the survey results have assisted them in reviewing policies and practices in a number of areas.

The questionnaires for the online surveys can be adapted, in consultation with DARTA, to fit the school’s specific needs. Once the data has been collected and analysed the results are delivered to the school as a report in electronic format.

A PowerPoint presentation based on the key findings will be prepared for the school if required. Fact sheets highlighting major findings from one or both of the surveys can also be provided on request.

The report, information, and data collected remains the property of the school.

If you are interested in having DARTA provide this service to your school community, or require further information, please contact us.

Looking for information or support services on alcohol or drugs?

If you or a friend or family member needs assistance in this area, Alcohol and Drug Information Services (ADIS) are available in every state and territory. Each of these are each staffed by trained professionals who can help with your query and provide confidential advice or refer you to an appropriate service in your area.

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