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Inverness and Ross schools' success in substance danger awareness awards

By Neil MacPhail

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Smithton Primary School.
Smithton Primary School.

TWO Inverness schools and one in Easter Ross have been recognised for their work in helping youngsters make positive life choices over drugs and other harmful substances.

The Substance Aware School (SAS) award has been developed to recognise and reward consistent, ongoing approaches to prevent substance use among young people across the Highlands.

This initiative is a joint partnership between the Highland Alcohol and Drugs Partnership (HADP), Highland Council, NHS Highland, and Police Scotland.

The award aims to:

Support and promote evidence informed substance education and prevention in the Highlands

Celebrate and showcase good practice of substance education and prevention

Encourage and sustain healthy attitudes and behaviours among young people.

The winners of the gold SAS award and £1,000 is Smithton Primary School, silver and £500 Hilton of Cadboll Primary School, and bronze and £250 went to Millburn Academy.

Prize money is to be spent on positive activities for young people as they can help to deter substance use.

Smithton head teacher Aileen MacKay, said: “Smithton Primary was delighted to be taking part in the SAS award again this year and even better to have been awarded the gold achievement for the second year running.

“The young people in the action group called MADE (Making A Difference Enterprise) have been involved in all aspects and as we go forward, all classes will be involved using the Substance Awareness Toolkit which we have found invaluable to shape our health and wellbeing curriculum.”

Catriona MacRae from Hilton of Cadboll Primary School said: “We were delighted to find out we had received the silver award. It was lovely to be able to share the news with the pupils at our school, especially during such uncertain times. We look forward to continuing our education on substance awareness and furthering our school pupils’ knowledge.”

Hannah Mackenzie, a PE teacher from Milburn Academy, said: “We applied for the award in the hope that we could gain funding for further interactive resources to raise awareness of drug and alcohol misuse within our PSE programme.

“Winning the award allows us to support our pupils with further resources. This is a reward for all their hard work and commitment through extracurricular activities such as Northern Stars.”

Ian Kyle, head of Integrated Children’s Services at Highland Council said: “We are delighted with the response from organisations to this year’s awards. The toolkit is available to teachers, youth workers and other professionals and provides up to date information, advice and lesson plans to assist with the delivery of substance misuse education.

"We are thrilled that organisations continue to make use of the online resources which includes links to websites, leaflets, publications, electronic learning material, lesson plans and teaching aids.”

Information on how to apply for the SAS award can be found at the Highland Substance Awareness Toolkit, https://www.highlandsubstanceawareness.scot.nhs.uk/

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