Prevention and reduction - schools
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Prevention and reduction - schools
Prevention and Reduction:Strategies Schools Can UseThe DfE have published a paper looking at what works in prevention. The paper describeswhat the international evidence shows about interventions which have been shown tohave an impact on youth crime and anti-social behaviour. Much of the evidence comesfrom the field of substance misuse prevention.There are some clear messages for schools prevention activities which we have sought toprécis here.What characterises good prevention interventions aimed at individualsThe report quotes research which has found that there are a number of characteristics thatare associated with improved outcomes. These are: • working with smaller groups of young people • programmes delivered by the originators, by other research staff or by their students, • using cognitive behavioural techniques with higher risk young people and those treating young people aged 12 or moreThe first two come back to issues about delivering programmes in the way that thedesigners have set out. When working with bigger groups it is difficult to maintain theoverall quality of delivery than is the case with smaller groups. Having the programmedelivered by those associated with the development of the programme improves thelikelihood of delivering it exactly as intended; this is backed by other research which hasshown that when delivered by generic providers prevention interventions tend to bediluted in the third year of delivery following initial training.What can schools do to create the right environment to preventharms?The review finds four approaches that have shown significant promise in preventingproblem behaviours: • The reorganisation of grades or classes; • the alteration of classroom or instruction management; • the alteration of school discipline or management; • instructional programmes that teach social competency skills using cognitive behavioural methods.Reorganising classes either by reducing the size, mixing groups differently or providingalternative lessons for part of the day for those identified as vulnerable have been shown to
have benefit. The report says these approaches have shown a 24 percent reduction inalcohol or drug use.Classroom management techniques which use the use of rewards and punishmentscontingent on behaviour are described as showing an overall reduction in alcohol or druguse by 5 percent.Programmes that focus on school discipline have shown effect where they foster a positiveschool ethos. The report describes the Positive Action Through Holistic Educationprogramme which involves whole school working around policy. They describe the resultsachieved over a two year implantation an overall reduction of 16 per cent in youth crime,17 per cent in alcohol and other drug use, and an 8 per cent reduction in anti-socialbehaviour measures.The classroom programmes that have shown the most impact are those that teach socialcompetence skills using cognitive behavioural methods such as Life Skills Training.What doesn’t work in prevention?Almost as important as finding the programmes and interventions that do make sure thatchildren and young people avoid the harms that are associated with drug and alcoholmisuse are stopping activities that have been shown to be ineffective, or worse stillcounterproductive.The DfE have recently published a review of the evidence which suggests the following donot work in preventing crime and antisocial behaviour and should not be used: • Interventions focused primarily on coercion or control, i.e. surveillance, deterrence or discipline • Military-style boot camps • Individual counselling (not based on cognitive behavioural techniques) • Unstructured life skills training • Community service activities • Gun buyback programs • Short-term non-residential training programs, summer jobs or subsidised work programmes • Any programme that groups high risk students together in the absence of a structured programme is associated with increased levels of delinquency.