From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. This page is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.
For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA
This section provides policy advice, tools to support schools when self-evaluating, reviewing and planning a comprehensive drug education program.
Please note where the former Victorian Government Schools Reference Guide is noted in documents please refer to the School Policy + Advisory Guide
The role of principals and school leaders in drug education
A response to drug-related issues is a key priority for the Victorian Government. A harm minimisation approach is an important focus that aims to reduce the risks associated with drug use, and promote healthier, alternative behaviours for students.
School leaders provide the overall support for the drug education program. Generally this is through:
- endorsing the development and ongoing provision of a program that best meets the learning needs of the student population
- ensuring appropriate consultation through the school council
- engaging students in activities to give them some sense of ownership of their curriculum
- committing the necessary staff time and resources
- supporting staff training to ensure teaching staff have the ability to teach and assess drug education against the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS)
- demonstrating an understanding of the importance of drug education
- communicating support for drug education to the school community
- cultivating relationships with the local school community.
Procedures for managing a drug related incident at school and developing a drug education policy
Drug Education Policy (dotm - 38.6kb) - provides a template for writing a drug education policy and drug related incident plan.
The following key supporting documents for principals provide further information to schools to assist them to develop policy and address drug related issues.
Supporting documents for principals
The Schools Policy and Advice Guide formerly known as the Victorian Government Schools Reference Guide
The Schools Policy and Advice Guide provides information on the Department's drug education policy. The most relevant sections include:
Drugs and Schools: Legal Issues – A Guide for Principals of Government Schools
Drugs and Schools: Legal Issues (pdf - 214.47kb) - a 15 page guide to assist principals with practical responses to questions relating to drug issues. Principals should ensure that this information is made available to all staff and the school council. This guide is intended to be read in conjunction with the Schools Policy and Advisory Guide and Student Engagement Policy Guidelines. See School Policy and Advisory Guide, Student Engagement Policy Guidelines
Student Wellbeing provides information on frameworks and policies for health and wellbeing.
Support in Schools details the critical school based workforces that assist school leaders to identify appropriate prevention or intervention strategies for students that may become disengaged from school
Keeping in Touch (The Kit) is an Australian government resource that has been designed to increase the knowledge and skills of school staff in providing early identification, effective responses and ongoing support to students across a range of drug use issues and incidents.
The following resources provide information for keeping young people connected to school or assist with case management planning for incidents occurring in schools.
A range of family support services are available to assist families with information, advice and counselling, see: Drug Education
School drug education planning
In accordance with the Department’s School Accountability and Improvement Framework for Government Schools, schools are required to review their drug education strategy every four years to ensure that all students have access to drug education curriculum, programs and support. Victorian schools are required to:
- Have an effective drug education program supported by whole school policies which include procedures to respond to drug related incidents, see: Drug Education Policy (dotm - 38.6kb)
- Review their drug education strategy every four years
- Complete a minimum of 10 hours of drug education per year per year level.
The following documents support the development of drug education plans:
The following examples are of school drug education plans which include goals and strategies that schools may consider. They apply to Prep-Year 12 and special schools.
Schools may wish to contact their Regional Senior Program Officers to access:
- information and advice on developing their drug education program
- teacher professional development
Working with parents and the broader community
In recognition of a shared responsibility for drug education, school leaders cultivate strategic partnerships with the local community and parents.
Parent engagement in drug education is the involvement of parents in any drug-related programs, strategies and communication to enhance the learning outcomes and wellbeing of students. Parents have a critical role to play in building the resilience of their children and helping them become healthy, active members of the community. See: Engaging Parents