The In:tuition programme was inspired and informed by Unplugged, a European intervention strategy for young people aged 12-14, aimed at delaying alcohol, tobacco and drug initiation. Unplugged was shown to be effective in preventing substance misuse and reducing alcohol misuse by 28-31% (1).
Responding to the observation that most studies of anti-alcohol education programmes are of poor or mediocre quality, especially with respect to randomisation (2), we commissioned the first cluster-based randomised controlled trial (RCT) of an anti-alcohol education programme in the UK.
The In:tuition trials, undertaken separately for primary and secondary schools, were carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). They were funded and overseen by Alcohol Research UK using a grant provided by Drinkaware.
We were disappointed with the uptake of the programme by schools but we understand that this was in part due to the difficulty in teachers being able to fit the 12 lessons into their schedules.
The independent evaluation found no evidence of impact on the primary outcome measures, which were resistance skills (confidence to manage peer pressure) in 10 and 11 year-olds and the proportion of pupils aged 12-13 that were drinking frequently. Equally, there was no statistically significant impact on any of the secondary outcome measures, although primary school pupils in the intervention group had slightly better knowledge about alcohol and its effects than those in the control group.
Among the pupils who did take part, the process evaluation highlighted some perceived positive feedback. The qualitative data also suggest that teachers were positive about aspects of the programme content and teaching approaches but adapted the programme to take account of the time available and the needs/context of the school.
Drinkaware is currently reviewing how aspects of the programme may be repurposed to best fit the needs of the professionals delivering it.
Download the full independent evaluation here.
(2) Foxcroft, D.R. and Tsertsvadze, A. (2011). Universal schoolbased prevention programs for alcohol misuse in young people. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews; Issue 5: Art. No.: CD009113.