Choosing the best approach to PSHE or risk-taking behavioural education is a key task for educators. There is no shortage of guidance, information, and materials but choosing the most relevant and supportive for the group or groups you lead depend on a number of factors.
These principles have been explored and compiled by the Drug Education Forum to help you understand the basis of good practice. The principles have been adapted from the latest best-practice evaluations carried out in the UK, Canada, Australia, the USA and by the United Nations.


1. Environment: Good risk-taking behavioural education is...

  • Underpinned by a whole school approach

  • Enhanced by family-based prevention programmes

2. Planning: An appropriate curriculum is...

  • Relevant and responsive to the developmental stage and circumstances

      of the children and young people (see Needs Assessment below)

  • Taught in the context of other personal, social and health issues

  • Manageable given available resources

  • Informed by programmes that produce achievable outcomes

  • Developmental: re-visited, consolidated and extended throughout childhood

      and youth

  • Supported by appropriate training

  • Evidence based and/or evaluated

3. Practice: The educator...

  • Creates a comfortable classroom climate

  • Uses interactive teaching styles

  • Is responsive to different cultural views and realities

  • Includes a normative component

  • Keeps up-to-date with evidence

4. Content: The selected materials and activities…

  • Provide children and young people with opportunities to develop social skills

  • Use credible, reliable and up-to-date sources which explore, contrast, and, where appropriate, support (or challenge) attitudes to self and others opinions on risk-behaviours

  • Strengthen protective factors

  • Minimise risk factors

5. Evaluation: The programme is informed by...

  • Assessment

  • Monitoring

  • Impact evaluation