The Independent on Sunday has requested access to and copies of all documents, including meeting reports, minutes, official communications and representations, relating to a proposal to introduce compulsory and random drug tests in state schools in England and Wales.
Please note: This republished response was originally made in April 2008.
Drugs: Guidance for Schools was the subject of a public consultation in the summer of 2003. In accordance with s21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Department will not, therefore, provide details of the consultation here.
This guidance did not introduce or enable a system of random drug testing, but rather it highlighted that some schools had already adopted strategies such as drug testing and the use of sniffer dogs to detect illegal drug possession or use. The guidance outlines that headteachers are entitled to use such strategies and that the decision on whether to do so rests with them and the individual school. The guidance is clear it is essential that before a school takes the decision to use one of these strategies that it considers very carefully a number of factors outlined therein. This includes consulting with the police and other local partners and obtaining parental consent for their child to participate.
There are no licensing or approval arrangements for drug testing in schools; it is matter for individual schools.
This document provides guidance on all matters relating to drug education, the management of drugs within the school community, supporting the needs of pupils with regard to drugs and drug policy development.