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Raising the standard: tools and tips to improve alcohol and drug prevention

Mentor is determined to bring evidence-based practice to mainstream education. We are doing this through the delivery of free regional seminars through our Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Information Service (ADEPIS), exploring quality assessed programmes by the Centre for Analysis of Youth Transitions (CAYT).

On Thursday 22nd September we were in Newcastle to explore appropriate tools and approaches to implement a ‘whole school community’ approach to alcohol and drug education.

We did this by exploring two case studies where an evidence-based framework supports both schools and practitioners in delivering effective alcohol and drug education:

Drug Aware in Nottingham

Over the past 6 years Drug Aware has been providing schools with resources and support by involving “whole school communities”, which includes young people, parents/carers, teachers and other school staff, as well as partners such as drug services and the police.

This seminar showcased the approaches and tools developed by Nottingham City Council, providing attendees with an insight into this early intervention programme, which aims to reduce substance misuse among young people. The Drug Aware programme and whole school community model is integrated across schools, giving attention to the needs of all young people while embracing early identification and ensuring early help is at the foundation of safeguarding.

Mentor review of alcohol and drug education provision in Brighton & Hove

Mentor’s Quality Assurance services provide guidance and tools to support local capacity building through developing and strengthening sustainable prevention networks at a local level. The alcohol and drug education review in Brighton and Hove not only allowed Mentor to work closely with schools to understand the current capacity and expertise, but also made links and developed strategies to strengthen communication and collaboration with other relevant actors within the community.  This session focused on sharing best practice to overcome common challenges, whilst assessing effective ways to build capacity to replicate this model through local networks.

Targeted interventions and the case of PreVenture

This year ADEPIS are determined to bring evidence-based practice to mainstream education. We will do this through the delivery of free regional seminars exploring CAYT quality assessed programmes.

On Monday 7th March we held the third seminar of the series, which looked at the targeted prevention prgramme PreVenture.

Whilst in our previous seminars we looked at universal prevention programmes such as Unplugged and Effekt, in this session we looked at the continuum of prevention and the importance and need for targeted prevention, with a particular focus on the PreVenture programme.


  • Prof. Harry Sumnall, Liverpool John Moores University, about the importance of targeted and indicated prevention
  • Dr. Patricia Conrod, PreVenture, background, evaluation, and implementation
  • Nick Axford, The Dartington Social Research Unit (DSRU), about the continuum of evidence-based prevention and approaches beyond programmes delivery


Effekt: A parent’s perspective on alcohol education

This year ADEPIS are determined to bring evidence-based practice to mainstream education. We will do this through the delivery of free regional seminars exploring CAYT quality assessed programmes.

On Wednesday 7th October we held the second seminar of the series, which looked at Effekt.

Effekt (also known as the Örebro Prevention program) is a universal prevention programme designed to decrease underage drunkenness by maintaining parents’ restrictive attitudes and expectations concerning underage drinking. The programme has quickly become the most utilised prevention programme aimed at parents in Sweden, and is now used in several other countries.

The Effekt programme works around parental leniency in relation to their own children’s use of alcohol. The programme works on three main stages:
1) Raising parental concern around alcohol use among young people;
2) Empowering parents by making them aware that their attitudes and behaviours matter;
3) Providing them with the right tools and techniques to prevent their child’s drinking behaviour.

On the day, programme developer Nikolaus Koutakis, from Örebro University, gave a very insightful overview of the programme development, implementation and evaluation.

Access the presentation below.

Unplugged: Life-skills for thriving youth – ADEPIS seminar series

P1010745copyThis year ADEPIS are determined to bring evidence-based practice to mainstream education. We will do this through the delivery of free regional seminars exploring CAYT quality assessed programmes.

On Tuesday 7th July we held the first seminar of the series, which looked at Unplugged.

Unplugged Programme Developer, Peer van der Kreeft from University College Ghent, gave us the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at a programme that has been proven to work.

The Unplugged programme has been trialled in seven European countries: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and Sweden. The translated materials are freely available.

P1010748copyUnplugged is designed to equip young people with specific skills and resources that they need to resist social influences and to support knowledge about drugs and their adverse health consequences. It focuses on core ‘life skills’: critical thinking, decision-making, creative thinking, effective communication, relationship skills, self-awareness, empathy, and coping with emotions. In addition, the programme aims to correct mistaken ideas about how prevalent and acceptable drug use is in general among young people.

On the day, Peer not only gave insightful presentations (available below) exploring both practical and theoretical aspects of the programme, but also gave real time demonstrations of exercises used in the programme.

If you would like to find out more about Unplugged, or you are interested in running a pilot in your area, please contact us on

To access a formal assessment of the programme evaluation, please access the CAYT repository here.

Sign up to our newsletter to keep updated with forthcoming seminars. The next seminar will be held on Wednesday 7th October and will look at Effekt, a parenting programme developed by Orebro University, Sweden.


Higher education access, progression and funding: what lessons for social mobility?

With student number controls being relaxed in England, more young people will have the opportunity to go to university than ever before. But with the benefits of a degree varying by subject and institution, the challenge of ensuring that higher education remains a vehicle for social mobility is likely to continue.

At the same time, there remain ever-present questions about the financial stability of the HE sector: is the current system of undergraduate funding sustainable? What about other sources of university funding? This event will draw on research funded by the Nuffield Foundation and other IFS work to address the following questions:

  • How large are the socio-economic gaps in HE participation, degree outcomes and subsequent labour market outcomes, and what does this imply about HE as a vehicle for social mobility?
  • Who won and who lost from the 2012 reforms to HE finance, and what are the challenges for the funding of HE in future, both in terms of undergraduate teaching and from a wider perspective?

Following two presentations by IFS researchers, we will have a panel discussion to draw out the policy implications of the research and the resultant challenges for social mobility. Paul Johnson, IFS Director, will Chair this event.

Panel members will be:

  • Nick Hillman, Director, Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI)
  • Professor Christina Hughes, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Warwick University (Teaching and Learning)
  • Nick Pearce, Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Professor Sir David Watson, Principal of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford and Trustee of the Nuffield Foundation


Registration will take place from 09:30 – 10:00, coffee will be served during this time. Lunch will also be served after the event at 12:30.

Places at this event are strictly limited so please e-mail to apply for a place.


Please note: Due to the constraints of the Nuffield Foundation’s listed Georgian building, it is sadly unable to provide access or facilities for wheelchair-users. People with mobility needs should contact the Foundation for guidance in advance of visiting the building. The Foundation has a hearing loop in part of the main seminar room.


A workshop on evaluating the impact of youth programmes

It has become increasingly important for those providing youth services to evaluate the impact of their programmes. This workshop will introduce participants to the principles of impact evaluation and provide guidance on how youth programmes and services can best be evaluated.

The event will be interactive and will be of particular interest to those who deliver youth programmes and those in VCS organisations who have an interest in demonstrating to local commissioners that their programmes work and who want to know more about the best methods for evidencing programme impacts.

Speakers will include:

  • Ben Alcott (University of Michigan)
  • Anna Power (Nottingham City)
  • Anna Vignoles (Cambridge and IFS)

Registration will take place between 10:00 and 10:30 and the workshop is expected to conclude at 12:30.

The workshop has been organised by the Centre for Analysis of Youth Transitions (CAYT), a partnership between the ESRC Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy at IFS, IoE and Natcen with funding from the DfE.For further information about the Centre please visit: