Walker says 85% of parents have
given permission for testing
to a Kent school for the new term will be
subject to random drug tests for the first
In what is thought to
be the first such scheme in a state school,
pupils at The Abbey School in Faversham will
have mouth swabs taken to detect drug use.
From Wednesday, 20
names each week will be selected by computer
and the swabs sent off to a drug testing
So far, 85% of
parents have given permission for children
to be tested, according to head teacher
very brave of the school. I wish
He said previous
government attempts to prevent people taking
drugs were not working and "something else"
had to be tried.
He said children were
looking for an excuse to say no to drugs,
against peer pressure, and the scheme would
give them that excuse.
"One of the
difficulties we have got in our society is
that the government has tried so hard and so
much to try to improve levels of prevention,
yet we are not meeting with enough success,"
Mr Walker said.
non-selective school takes pupils aged from
11 to 19.
Those selected each
week will report to the sick room for
testing by specially-trained non-teaching
Results will be
available three days later.
Mr Walker said that
no child would be tested against his or her
"If a child says no
to being tested we will call the parents
into the school and discuss it, " he said.
"It might indicate
that the child has been taking some stuff
and doesn't want to be found out.
"We will then assess
what support they need."
The tests will detect
cannabis, speed, ecstasy, heroin and
A summary of the
school's findings will be released every
four to six weeks and parents will be
informed of their own children's results.
at The Abbey School will be tested
from the new term
Children who test
positive will not be expelled but those
found dealing will be and the police will be
"It's not a question
of punishment, it's a question of support.
We will decide whether they need counselling,
police support or healthcare," said Mr
"We do not have a
bigger drugs problem than any other school,"
"There's a chance we
have even less of a problem because we are
Paul Carter, Kent
County Council cabinet member for education,
said he supported Mr Walker.
"It's very brave of
the school. I wish them luck," he said.
"Random drug testing
is fraught with legal problems so we are
issuing the school with helpful guidance.
"I believe the tests
will be a strong deterrent to youngsters
dabbling in drugs."