Winchester school considers drug testing pupils after police discover cannabis on site (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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Winchester school considers drug testing pupils after police discover cannabis on site
4:01pm Tuesday 21st January 2014 in News
A WINCHESTER school says it is yet to decide whether it will introduce drug testing, despite reports in the national media.
One girl was expelled recently and another suspended from St Swithun's, an independent school for girls, after a stash of cannabis was found there by police.
The girls are understood to be aged just 14 and there has been concern among parents after it emerged a number of pupils have been using drugs in the holidays.
Simon Mayes, development director at the £10,000-a-term school, said a recent headline in a Sunday tabloid was wrong to imply a decision had already been made on drug testing.
He said: “A small amount of cannabis was found on site in November. We know that it was not used on school premises and the pupil responsible for bringing it onto the campus is no longer at the school.
“In accordance with our drugs policy, we do not tolerate the possession of drugs and will deal severely with any pupils found in possession. In addition, we continuously seek to deter pupils from using drugs through appropriate PSHE (Personal, social, health and economic) education. The school is also currently reviewing its policy to consider conducting drugs tests on pupils in cases where there is suspicion of use.”
He added: “To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time something like this has happened at the school.”
A 2011 Independent Schools Inspectorate praised the schools drugs policy.
“Year 11 pupils recently attended a very effective presentation about drugs from which they clearly took away important messages. The school is committed to helping the pupils develop a healthy lifestyle,” the report said.
In a letter to parents, headteacher Jane Gandee said: “During our investigation we uncovered information about the use of cannabis and possibly other drugs at weekends and during the holidays. The consumption of these drugs did not take place at school. But our duty of care to all pupils at St Swithun's means we will be raising our concerns with a small number of parents over the next few days.”
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