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School welcomes award winning speaker and detection dogs to raise awareness

On Monday 11 February The Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College launched a drugs awareness campaign with its Year 10 students during a collapsed timetable day.

On the day the school welcomed Paul Hannaford, an award-winning drugs awareness speaker, whose life experiences bring an insight to the real consequences of drug addiction, knife crime, gangs and county lines. Paul delivered his talk to all year 10 students and spent time working with students in small group sessions.

Alongside Paul, the school welcomed detection dogs Freddie and Cooper and their handler Charlotte from security service provider ICTS. The students got to see first hand how these highly trained canines are used in the detection of drugs and how they are being utilised in many different organisations and settings across in the UK. The dogs remained in the school for the whole day giving the students chance to meet them and talk to their handler.   

The school’s aim for the day was to raise awareness about the dangers and consequences of drug and substance abuse as this a rising issue in the UK. This is highlight by national and local ‘County Lines’ campaigns which have been run by Crime Stoppers and Warwickshire Police respectively.

In addition to this, latest statistics from the Department for Education show that there were 9000 fixed term exclusions given out to students across the country for reasons related to drug and substances. In the West Midlands, Warwickshire had the second highest number of exclusions, only behind Birmingham.

The school’s headteacher, Alison Davies added, “Unfortunately there has been a number of high profile drug and substance incidents reported in the media recently, with a number of these occurring in Rugby. As a school we have a duty to educate our students about these issues and alert them to the possible life changing consequences. Paul Hannaford has visited us on a number of occasions and our students have always spoken highly of the hard hitting talks he has given.”

Miss Davies, added “We want all of our students to live safe and successful lives and we fully recognise our responsibility and the part we can play in this. I am really pleased with the work our Year 10 students have produced as part of the ‘Not in Our School’ campaign and I look forward to seeing the campaign move forwards.”

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