About the Alcohol Education Trust
Our vision is for young people to enter adulthood having a responsible understanding of alcohol and its short and long term effects. We engage children of all abilities and backgrounds before they begin drinking, helping them build resilience skills, to know how to avoid and resist risky situations and to look after themselves and each other in a variety of settings. The earlier a young person begins drinking and the more they drink the higher the likelihood of engaging in other risky behaviours affecting life chances and health. Hence the Trust develops and uses evidenced based approaches that delay youth drinking and reduce binge drinking ensuring young people stay safer around alcohol.
School is the one place where we can reach every child across the UK at a crucial time in their lives. Age 13 is the tipping point at which our kids look away from parents towards their friends and peers, hence Year 8 is the perfect time for alcohol education. The Talk About Alcohol programme has resources from 11- 18, but recommends 4 key lessons in Year 8 with 2 top up lessons in Year 9 for maximum impact.
We need to engage children before they begin drinking and help them build their resilience skills, know how to avoid risky situations, learn how to look after themselves and each other and avoid slipping into situations that can run out of control. The average age of a whole alcoholic drink in the UK is age 13. Our goal is to edge this up to at least 15 in line with the UK Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines as well reduce binge drinking and the social acceptability of drunkenness.
Our core values (click to expand)
We are an organisation that places evidence and research at the heart of our activities. All of our work is based upon strong evidence and we constantly have our methods and outcomes evaluated.
Our programme works!
Our work has been evaluated among 4000 pupils in 34 schools across England over 2 years (2011 – 2013). Pupils in schools which delivered 4 of our lessons in Year 8 and 2 top up lessons in Year 9 were significantly less likely to take up drinking than those in the comparison schools. 20% of pupils took up drinking versus only 8% in school using the AET resources. The Department for Education appointed CAYT has awarded ur programme 3 out 3 for effectiveness – top marks! We are a PSHE Association accredited programme too.
Open and positive
Our methods are not based on focusing on negative behaviour and scare tactics. We want young people to be open about their experiences, worries and attitudes to alcohol in order to have an honest and mature dialogue. A social norms approach highlights improving trends and behaviours in all risk taking by young people.
We integrate alcohol education with development around life skills and resilience. We look at the wider impact of our work and ways we can support young people’s transition into adulthood. We work with schools, local authorities, Public Health and parents to provide holistic support to young people.
We provide easy to implement practical tools, training and resources to schools that are engaging and evidence based.
- The earlier our kids start drinking regularly, the less likely they are to do well at school. If kids drink once or twice a week, their grades drop by 20 points, that’s a fall from an A* to a C. If they’re drinking 5-6 times a week, it means a 80 point drop – from an A* to a U.
- Those who drink regularly are also more likely to smoke and engage in other risky behaviours such as drugs and unprotected sex.
- Kids who drink regularly before the age of 15 are: more likely to be truant, have poor school results and engage in other substance use.
- They are 7 times more likely to be in a car crash because of drinking and 11 times more likely to suffer unintentional injuries after drinking.
Alcohol Education is normally taught through Science and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE). Teachers are usually non specialist and so must be supported with imaginative, easy to use, regularly updated and evaluated resources that are accessible and supported by training and advice if they need it.
No one size fits all
Resources are available on line and on paper to allow for different needs, abilities, age groups and knowledge of pupils, and for varying lesson lengths and classroom facilities. There are bespoke picture and story led approaches for those most at risk from alcohol related harm and addiction such as those living in areas of high deprivation, with learning difficulties and looked after children.
We reach out to parents too
If parents and carers are unable to support their school’s efforts by being good role models to their children and by setting boundaries; knowing where their kids are and who they are with, then our job is only half done.
We help parents and carers to talk to their children about alcohol and face up to the issue that parents/carers are the key suppliers of alcohol to those under the legal age (estimated 60% of supply). Parents are the biggest influence on their kids, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Through our parent newsletter and talks held in schools, we give parents strategies to face challenging situations, to feel more confident and knowledgeable in their decisions around alcohol and to tap into support offered by schools on behavioural issues.