AET Newsletter for Teachers and other Professionals - Scotland

Edition 2 - Spring Term 2020

We hope you had a lovely half term break and we take great pleasure in enclosing our termly newsletter for Scotland. We now have over 140 schools in 27 of the 32 Local Authority areas using the especially adapted Talk About Alcohol programme for Scotland. Brian Gibson has really enjoyed delivering 50 plus training sessions and supporting you ongoing in rolling out our evidenced based resources.

Off to a flying start

We started 2020 by delivering a workshop with the Deputy Head Teacher, Principal Teacher and the PSE Team for pupil support and care in Arbroath High School. They really enjoyed the session and are delighted with AET resources which they plan to integrate into their PSE curriculum.

Following on from last year’s discussions with South Lanarkshire’s strategic development DHT for PSE, Brian has met with Uddingston Grammar’s PT for PSE and introduced the resources. By the end of February, Brian will have delivered workshops in six schools within this local authority with another 12 schools benefitting across the coming months.

In addition, we have delivered a workshop to 12 School Engagement Officers (SEO’s) from Police Scotland who are based across the 14 Secondary schools within Dumfries & Galloway local authority area. This was a really good session which will be followed up by taking AET’s evidenced based resources into all the secondary schools in the area enabled and supported by the SEO’s.

Future plans

During the next few months Brian will be meeting Scottish Government’s new Head of Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs with our CEO Helena Conibear to update him with AET’s progress in Scotland in its inaugural year and also discuss our strategy moving forward.

Brian will also be participating at this year’s conference hosted by the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) which is an educational charity representing and promoting the interests of over 70 independent schools across Scotland.

Most importantly we will be engaging with as many schools across Scotland’s 32 local authority areas as possible, to continue to deliver AET’s evidenced based resources to them. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with Brian via: if you would benefit from our Talk About Alcohol programme or training.

Do you work with children who are in care or have Additional Support Needs?

We have funding available to support schools and organisations who work with a high proportion of pupils who are Looked After or have ASN.

We have a wonderful activity box which contains the BAFTA-wining DVD 'Just a few Drinks' and laminated activity and quiz cards. These resources have been especially designed to support pupils with ASN and are particularly suitable for use in small group or one to one settings.

If you work with these groups of pupils and would like to receive an activity pack (usually £45) free of charge, please email .

A reminder of the support available

Remember, we are able to offer the following resources free of charge to all schools:

* AET Teacher Workbook - 100 pages of lesson plans and activities organised by topic and year group.

*'Alcohol and You' student guide- containing top tips and factual information for young people.

*'Taking to Kids about Alcohol' parent guide - offering tips and advice on how to keep children safe around alcohol. 

* - contains a wealth of resources around alcohol education

* - a pupil-facing interactive online learning zone.

We also offer engaging and informative teacher/staff training sessions and parent talks.


The report was released at the end of 2019 and presents the alcohol findings from the 2018 wave of the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS). The research was commissioned by the Scottish Government and carried out by Ipsos MORI Scotland.

Key Findings:


36% of 13-year-olds and 71% of 15-year-olds had ever had an alcoholic drink.

53% of 13-year-olds and 70% of 15-year-olds, who had ever had alcohol, had been drunk at least once.

6% of 13-year-olds and 20% of 15-year-olds had drunk alcohol in the week before the survey.

The most common location for drinking was at home.

The number of pupils who had drunk alcohol in the week before the survey increased in all groups except 15-year-old girls.


6% of 13-year-olds and 21% of 15-year-olds had ever used drugs.

4% of 13-year-olds and 12% of 15-year-olds reported using drugs in the last month.

Drug use has been gradually decreasing since 2002 but between 2013 and 2018 there was an increase.

Cannabis was the most widely used drug, taken by 19% of 15-year-olds.

It was most common for pupils to have used drugs out in the street or in someone else's home.

22% of 13-year-olds and 47% of 15-year-olds had been offered drugs.

It was most common for pupils who had ever taken drugs to get them from friends.

Almost all 13-year olds were non-smokers (97%), 2% were regular smokers and 2% were occasional smokers.

Smoking was more common among 15-year-olds but prevalence was still low: 7% were regular smokers and 6% were occasional smokers.


First study published into under 18 drinkers post MUP

A NHS Health Scotland report assessed the impact of the MUP on a group of fifty 13-17 year olds who reported drinking alcohol both before and after the implementation of MUP in Scotland in May 2018. Participants were asked about any changes in the price or availability of what they drink; any changes in their acquisition and consumption of alcohol; their experiences of harm after drinking; and what influences their drinking. The authors state that this study was designed to help understand the lived experience of the young people who took part. It is not an assessment of the impact of MUP that is representative of all young people in Scotland.

The study found for young people under 18 years old who reported drinking alcohol, the Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) did not impact on their acquisition, consumption or related behaviours, either positively or negatively. Many of the products favoured by the young people were, on average, already being sold above 50 pence per unit before MUP was introduced.

The study also found that money and price changes were not perceived to be barriers to drinking by the children and young people interviewed. The price of alcohol was not seen as an important factor in their drinking behaviour, and overall they did not report changing what they drank, how much they drank or how they obtained their alcohol, in response to price alone.

Despite a limited awareness of the implementation of MUP, the young people interviewed were largely price aware and had observed changes in product price, and to a lesser extent changes in product availability. The study found no reported changes in the extent or nature of alcohol-related harms amongst the young people interviewed, following the introduction of MUP.

Jane Ford, Principal Public Health Intelligence Advisor at NHS Health Scotland, said: “This study increases our understanding of the potential impact of the 50 pence per unit minimum unit price, on young people in Scotland’s own drinking and related behaviour.

“Whilst the findings show that implementation of MUP was not perceived to affect participant’s consumption, there were no reported negative impacts on alcohol-related harms amongst the children and young people in this study".

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can support you in any way, with resources, advice or training: either via Kate at Head Office ( or you can contact Brian directly by email via .

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