Swanswell calls on primary schools to think again about alcohol

04 September 2015

As children return to school after the summer holidays, Swanswell is calling on primary schools to think again about alcohol. Research undertaken by the national drug and alcohol recovery charity, shows that around one in three primary schools in England are serving alcohol to adults at events aimed at children.

Last year, Swanswell presented MPs with data obtained through a freedom of information request which revealed that alcohol had been served at over 8,400 events in primary schools. These were events where children would have been present, such as school discos, fetes and sports days.

Swanswell, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, believes this is a bar too far. The charity wants licensing laws changed so that any application from a primary school for a Temporary Event Notice to serve alcohol at events aimed at children is automatically refused. At the moment it’s automatically granted. It also wants schools to think again before having alcohol in raffles or allowing children to bring alcoholic gifts in for teachers at the end of the year.

Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan said; ‘My own children received an invitation to a disco at their primary school, offering a licensed bar for adults, and our own research shows that it’s happening in as many as one in three primary schools. If children are led to believe that alcohol is an important part of every social occasion, we shouldn’t be surprised if they expect to drink at their own social occasions as soon as they’re independent enough to do so.’

She added; ‘Research indicates that children’s feelings about alcohol are formed early, between the ages of six and ten while they’re at primary school. That’s why, we need to think again about how we can help children shape their opinions about drinking, so they can make informed decisions about their relationship with alcohol when they’re older. Tackling problem drug and alcohol abuse isn’t something any one body or organisation can do on their own, we all have to play our part.”

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