AET newsletter - July 2019


The summer break is nearly here and we are loving this warm, sunny weather! In this, our last newsletter of the academic year, we update you on our wonderful Midsummer Ball and let you know what our staff have been up to around the country. Don't forget to order your resources ready for September delivery or to book staff training or a parent talk ready for next term (see bottom of newsletter for your regional contact) and we wish you a relaxing and happy summer holiday!

10th Anniversary Midsummer Ball

We had a wonderful evening on the 22nd June celebrating our 10th anniversary with a Midsummer Ball. The sun shone and we welcomed over 200 guests to beautiful Moreton House in Dorset. We had plenty of entertainment with an auction of promises, disco and cabaret artist Charlie Bicknell getting into a giant balloon in a swimming costume and emerging in a cocktail dress! You can see further photos online via

Due to the wonderful generosity of our sponsors, those who gave auction lots and raffle prizes or made donations, we’re thrilled to say we have raised approximately £33,000! The auction of promises raised over £14,000 and a fantastic donation of £8,000 was made from a Family Trust. We are so grateful to those who supported us by coming and spent so generously during the evening too.

The funds raised will be used to help us build our first ever office and community space in the heart of a park, which you can read more about below and will also help to support our work in schools and organisations across the South West.

So many people played a part in making the evening such a success and a huge thank you must go to our hostess and the Ball committee who worked so hard for many months as well as to our wonderful sponsors.

A quick update from Kathryn on our work and the support we can offer across the North of England

What an amazing year it’s been for the North of England, with such a varied amount of work and we’re still going strong right up until the summer break with a teacher training session for the Manchester PRU’s as well as training session for Barnsley school nurses and Looked After Children residential support staff to come.

It has been fabulous to support all schools and organisations in South Yorkshire with our full activity packs and teacher workbook. I recently attended the Levett School in Doncaster, who were kind enough to host a training session for other schools in the area.

It’s also been a pleasure to be able to support the fantastic community work the local football clubs are doing. I delivered a session to a variety of EFL Clubs at the Hillsborough Stadium in May, they deliver projects to some of the most deprived young people in their areas who may have additional learning needs or who are Looked After, or who may be at risk of offending.

In Barnsley I supported a foster carer support event, where we held our Talk About Alcohol parent/carer session. A great turnout with some great feedback – I’m looking forward to hosting a further session next year.

It hasn’t been quiet in other areas of the North either, with ‘Talk about Alcohol’ training sessions or parent support events taking place in Sunderland, Cumbria, Blackpool, Darlington, Durham, Greater Manchester and North Yorkshire, some funded through our Looked After Children and SEN fund. Please do get in touch with to see if you’re eligible for one of our fully funded activity packs (our 100 page workbook is free for all youth organisations and schools) or contact me via to learn more about how I can support you next year.

Karen has now settled in and is rushing around the Midlands and South West!

June was a very busy month and saw Karen presenting at the 0-19 VCS Forum in Dorchester.  This was a brilliant opportunity to reach those running and working the clubs, organisations and charities involved with our target age group of 11 -18 throughout Dorset.

Weymouth College invited us along to their new student event which offered a great chance to talk to the students and their parents about what we do.

The Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Learning Conference in Cheltenham was a great way to network. As a result twenty schools, youth organisations and other youth charities throughout the county are accessing our fully funded resources and dates are being discussed for training next academic year.

Secondary schools across Shropshire were able to benefit from the amazing AET activity pack following training and distribution of resources at the Shropshire County Council Secondary SENCo Forum. Thanks to funding, our activity pack and training can be provided free of charge to any SENCo forum/ network across the UK.

South Somerset school nurses loved the activity pack and said how useful it was going to be with their work in schools. Their training session was great fun.

A 'Talk about Alcohol' teacher training session at Bicton College in Devon gave us the opportunity to train tutors from all facilities including those involved with the residential students.

We were invited again this year to run a workshop at the CLF Institute Conference in Bristol. Covering 16 schools (11 of them Secondary), this is an extremely mutually beneficial way of sharing the valuable AET resources. Workshops and resources can be offered to any multi academy trust.

My area covers from Cornwall across the South including Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and right up to the Midlands including Herefordshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire. I am taking lots of bookings for teacher training, parent support events and for foster carers for the next academic year, so please do get in touch via to see how I can help! We are so lucky to be able to support you due to wonderful local funding, without charge, so do let us help you ensure as many young people as possible learn to stay safe around alcohol.

Brian will soon have his own newsletter for Scotland, but a few words from him!

Our work in Scotland continues to make good progress and we have now engaged directly, or through the downloading of our resources, with over 100 schools in a number of local authority areas across the country.

I have delivered teacher training sessions to a cluster of schools up in the Highlands as well as across Angus and Tayside. Across the Central belt we have  developed a good working relationship with Police Scotland and their School Link Officers based within the 23 state schools in Edinburgh. Sergeant Greig Stephen quoted following a training session that the AET programme is “a very timely and useful resource for all school link officers”.

June was an extremely busy month again as schools in Scotland’s term came to an end and we were arranging training sessions for the new term after the summer break. Do please get in touch via

A new office, community space and cafe

We currently operate out of a garden garage – supporting 500,000 children in over 2,000 schools and organisations from here each year! We are striving to raise the £240,000 total we need to build and equip an office, training and community space and revenue-generating café in a beautiful park setting. This will enable us to host diversionary activities as well as ensure a more sustainable future for us and our work. With the Ball proceeds and further promised funds we are close to reaching 80% of our funding needs. You can read more here: . We plan to be open next Summer all being well! Please do contact if you think you can support us with time, expertise, equipment or funds to ensure our dream becomes a reality!

Order your resources for September delivery now!

As PSHE becomes compulsory this September, having a structured programme of PSHE is paramount and we can help you meet your requirements with both training from our regional experts, our highly evidenced lesson plans – and soon, off the shelf PowerPoints!

Don't forget to order your resources from Kate via ready for September delivery before you break up! We are able to offer all schools the following highly-evaluated and award-winning resources free of charge thanks to the wonderful Trusts, charitable organisations and patrons who support our work either regionally or nationally:

  • A hard copy of the ‘Talk about Alcohol’ Teacher Workbook (100 pages of games, lesson plans and activities organised by topic and year group)
  • Enough 'Alcohol and You' student guides for one year group (you are eligible each year)
  • 'Talk about Alcohol' parent guides (as above: enough for one year group annually).

You also enjoy unlimited access to the wealth of resources by topic and year group available via and the online learning zone

Our new activity box full of games and activities for use in small groups and particularly useful for non-classroom settings is now available and has received excellent feedback.

The box contains a range of  laminated activity cards covering assessing risk, units, ‘what if’  and ‘consequence’ scenarios, ‘higher harm’ discussion cards for young people you suspect may be drinking harmfully, picture and story cards designed for pupils with SEN and the award-winning 'Just a few Drinks' DVD. The box costs just £45 as is fully integrated with our free  online resources available via and

If you work with a high proportion of children with SEN or with looked after children, we may be able to provide a set and training free of charge due to a wonderful grant. Please contact .

New healthy schools rating scheme

The healthy schools rating scheme is a new initiative recently launched by the DfE and has been developed based on testing with schools in summer 2018. Its purpose is to recognise and encourage schools’ contributions to pupils’ health and wellbeing. This is a voluntary self-assessment tool designed to enable schools to determine how effective their promotion of healthy eating and physical activity is. Schools will receive an award for their performance and suggestions for improvements on their healthy living policies. The scheme is a commitment from the government’s Childhood Obesity Plan and is available for both primary and secondary schools. You can read more about the scheme via

Research Update

Drinking while smoking cannabis increases risk taking

New research has found that simultaneous use of alcohol and marijuana is riskier than using either substance alone, because their effects can interact and cause excessive depression of the central nervous system. This can result in young people engaging in more negative consequences such as driving under the influence, accidents, cognitive impairment, and symptoms of substance use disorders, as well as alterations in mood and well-being.

The study involved 1400 students who had used both alcohol and marijuana (alone and/or together) in the past year, and who completed an online survey assessing their own substance use and negative consequences, perceptions of simultaneous alcohol and marijuana use among peers and close friends, and ease of access to marijuana.

Previous research has shown that students' perceptions of substance use among their peers (which may differ from their peers' actual use) have a strong influence on their own behaviours. Consistent with this, the new study found that students who perceived high rates of simultaneous alcohol and marijuana use among their peers (and particularly among their close friends) were more likely to engage in frequent simultaneous alcohol and marijuana use themselves ─and were also more likely to experience negative consequences. Overall, the study indicates that a large majority of students who use alcohol and marijuana may be at risk for serious harm resulting from their simultaneous use


Research Society on Alcoholism

'Talk about Alcohol' analysis

If you would like to read a detailed analysis of 'Talk about Alcohol' and how and why it works by our CEO and published in The Schools Health Education Unit journal, then please view:  

A call for continued alcohol and drug education for older adolescents

Authors of a paper in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review state that ‘older adolescence represents a critical period of brain development whereby the prefrontal cortex, responsible for higher level thinking and emotional regulation, is under construction. During this period, the brain is wired to underestimate risk and overestimate pleasure, which primes young people towards risky, pleasure‐oriented experiences. Substance use during this time can hinder brain maturation and lead to development related disorders. However, young people are the most likely to drink at risky quantities, use cannabis, MDMA and cocaine in the previous 12 months than any other age group. Despite this, there are no validated, age‐appropriate prevention programmes targeting school leavers, which leaves a group of young people to navigate a landscape where drug use is the most common, without formal support’.

The authors argue that drug and alcohol prevention programmes should be developed for this age group that combine features of universal prevention programmes and targeted intervention programmes to support the wider range of drug use behaviours relevant to this older audience. Their paper outlines potential evidence‐based strategies that programmes could focus on in the future.

Alcohol and other drug prevention for older adolescents: It's a no brainer. Jennifer Debenham, Nicola Newton, Louise Birrell, Mina Askovic. Drug and Alcohol Review

Child and adolescent anxiety could be linked to later alcohol problems

New research led by the University of Bristol has found some evidence that children and adolescents with higher levels of anxiety may be at greater risk of developing alcohol problems. However, the link between anxiety and later binge drinking and later frequency and quantity of drinking was more inconclusive. University of Bristol, UK

Source: Associations of child and adolescent anxiety with later alcohol use and disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Dyer ML, Easey KE, Heron J, Hickman M, Munafò MR. Addiction. 2019 Mar 19.

AET resources comprise of and, a Teacher Workbook, booklets ‘Alcohol and You’ for 15yrs+ and ‘Talking to Your Kids About Alcohol’ parent and carer guide. 

We also offer teacher CPD workshops and parent information talks.

For further information on any of the above please contact
Helena Conibear, Founder, Director

Kathryn Arnott-Gent, Parent and Schools Coordinator - N Region

Brian Gibson, Director for Scotland

Karen Perryman, Parent and Schools Coordinator - South and West Midlands 

Kate Hooper, Schools Coordinator

Victoria McDonaugh, MA (Hons), PGCE
Christina Benjamin, BSc (Hons), PGCE
David Cox
Kate Larard, MSc, HV, RM, SRN
Keith Newton, ACA
Alison Winsborough, BMus, PGCE
Stephen Foster
The Alcohol Education Trust - Frampton House - Frampton - Dorchester - Dorset - DT2 9NH
01300 320869
Registered Charity Number: 1138775 -

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