Number of drugs offences in Brentwood schools doubles in a year
The number of drug or alcohol-related offences which resulted in a child being excluded from Brentwood schools doubled in the last two years, the Recorder can reveal.
In the academic period 2008/09, there were 10 incidents which led to a child being excluded from school for drugs or alcohol offences. In 2009/10 there were 20.
Not one of the children was expelled permanently, all were banned temporarily and all from mainstream secondary schools.
Freedom of Information officers at Essex County Council say that data for the last school year is not yet available. The trend has been highlighted just a week after it was revealed that a Year Eight pupil at the Anglo-European School in Ingatestone was excluded after being found in possession of cannabis.
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Reformed addict Paul Hannaford, who gives hard-hitting talks to pupils about addiction, has said the drugs problem is worse than the figures suggest.
He said: “The amount they catch compared with the amount that goes on is probably one in ten. Cannabis is massive in this country – not just in Brentwood, but in all schools.”
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Mr Hannaford estimates he has spoken to more than 6,000 children in the borough. He said: “I was in one Brentwood school recently and a boy came up to me, he was in Year Nine and he said he smoked cannabis regularly. He said to me ‘I wish you’d have come in to talk at my school when I was in year six or seven’.
“The education is where it’s got to come from. Like the sun is in the sky there will always be cannabis and there will always be cocaine, but we have to get as many children educated as possible, as young as possible.”
The term ‘drugs and alcohol offences’ shows the data taken from the census of schools and includes: alcohol abuse, drug dealing, inappropriate use of proscribed drugs, possession of drugs, smoking or substance abuse.
Future data from schools on the issue will be harder to obtain because academy schools are not obliged to share this information with their local authority.