What the understanding substances award is and what your school needs to do to achieve it.

About the understanding substances specialist award

This understanding substances specialist award aims to prevent, delay and reduce the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs among young people in Bristol.

The award:

  • focuses on a whole school approach to preventing and delaying substance misuse
  • looks at how a school might address concerns when young people, staff or parents are using substances
  • highlights the importance of leadership and policy processes within schools and having clear pathways to support

It's been designed in an age-appropriate way, so the criteria are suitable for both primary and secondary level settings.  

The secondary level criteria include more detail about protecting oneself from risk and, where appropriate, signposting young people to support services. 

What you school needs to do to achieve the award

You must make changes in your school to increase understanding of alcohol, tobacco and drug use. This could include:

  • changes to the school's culture
  • making improvements to the curriculum 
  • investing in leadership and training

You must complete the award within 1 year.

Use our online system to:

  • see the award criteria and guidance 
  • tell us you're starting to work towards a specialist award
  • send us evidence of your work
  • track your progress
  • submit your finished work

Go to the online system

Download the pdf award criteria (883 KB) .

Guidance and resources

We have advice, training and resources, such as lesson plans and example policies, on our Alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs and PSHE topic pages.

After you achieve the award

We'll send you:

  • a certificate
  • awards logos to use on your website or letterheads

After you achieve the understanding substances specialist award you can work towards an understanding substances advanced award.