The on-line resource was designed to support 9-14 year olds develop a range of skills to deal with responding to alcohol. It encourages young people to explore their attitudes, behaviour and decision-making by looking at issues such as peer pressure, self-confidence and goal setting.
The resource aims to support Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PHSE) education in schools. It aims to equip teachers, parents and young people with the knowledge and skills to help delay the age at which young people have their first drink. It also encourages parents to join in with home learning and reinforce the messages that their children have learned at school about how to deal responsibly with alcohol. It claims it is based on best-evidence life-skills approaches, which can reportedly reduce the risk of alcohol misuse by up to 30%.
An effective approach?
The effectiveness of schools-based programmes to reduce substance use has been the subject of hot debate. Critics argue that industry backed initatives focus on educational approaches precisely because these don't significantly result in reduced consumption.
In 2011 a review Investigating the effectiveness of education in relation to alcohol noted that whilst there was a range of educational approaches and delivery methods which made a small but positive contribution to alcohol harm reduction, some indeed may even be counter-productive. It cited that knowledge and attitude change alone were not predictive of positive behaviour change, and that combined school and family approaches were most effective when integrated with environmental interventions. This would include interventions such as limiting young people's access to alcohol and changing community tolerance to alcohol misuse.
Research previously indicated that that there may not be a proven significant difference between interactive and non-interactive methods. This suggests life skills may be no more important than a more narrowed focus of helping school children counter social influences. Findings has also published articles showcasing the debate on whether interactive programmes are effective accounting for research which suggested such programmes had a small but significant effect in delaying the onset of substance use - but subsequently contested.