What is Best Practice?

What is best practice?

Best practices in resilience, drug and road safety education are those strategies, activities or approaches which have been shown through research and evaluation to be effective.


What is best practice in school drug education?

The potential for drug-related harm to affect young people, along with other health and social issues such as youth suicide, mental health and sexual health problems is influenced by a range of factors that occur in the many different domains of their lives, including the community, family and school.

For this reason, the National Drug Research Institute and the Australian Drug Foundation in their review of best practice principles for school drug education in 2004, examined not only the features of effective drug education programs and how these programs should be delivered to impact on students’ behaviour, but also researched the role of social environments and resilience on drug use.

Research literature showed that young people’s attachment and connection to others, through the quality of their relationships and their social environments, affects their health and academic achievement, which in turn affects a range of behaviours including drug use.

The resultant best practice Principles for school drug education (2004) therefore use an evidence-based approach to inform their design and, in recognising that there are multiple layers to drug use, promote a comprehensive approach to drug education. This involves a whole school response which addresses programs, the school environment and relationships with parents and the broader community.

This whole-school approach requires moving beyond traditional notions of a teacher being responsible for drug education lessons within the health curriculum. A class program becomes part of a system-wide approach that seeks a comprehensive response across the school’s policies, practices and programs.

Nurturing a positive climate and relationships across the school community is as fundamental to addressing drug-related harm for young people as is determining appropriate classroom programs.



What is best practice in school road safety education?

Best practices in school road safety education are those strategies, activities, or approaches which have been shown through research and evaluation (based on current empirical, theoretical and practical evidence) to be effective at achieving an improvement in behaviour change and reduction in road trauma for children and young people.

Despite many innovative school-based interventions, there is an unfortunate lack of research which has demonstrated positive changes in children’s road safety knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours.  This lack of best practice research has made selecting and implementing effective road safety programs problematic for school communities until recently.

The National Road Safety Education Forum (NRSEF) in 2006, agreed that a set of nationally relevant principles of best practice would enhance the effectiveness of road safety education in schools.

Commissioned by School Drug Education and Road Aware and conducted by the Child Health Promotion Research Centre at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, the resultant 16  Principles for School Road Safety Education (2009) are based on a whole-school approach and an overarching principle that road safety programs based on research are more likely to be effective. The Principles have been devised by experts and based on research to ensure content and delivery methods of road safety education are consistent with what is currently understood to be best practice in the field.

You can download an overview of the Principles here.

The Principles provide a framework of core concepts and values to guide the planning, implementation and review of road safety education programs, guidelines and practice in school communities. This resource describes the research that guided the development of the Principles for School Road Safety Education and offers a summary of the research and theory that underpins each Principle.

The whole-school approach addresses the curriculum, the school community’s ethos and environment and relationships with parents and community.



Why are best practice principles important?

Why are best practice principles important for guiding the processes and strategies of effective school drug and road safety education?

The best practice principles for school drug and road safety education:

  • provide core concepts and values to guide the planning, implementation and review of drug and road safety education programs, guidelines and practice in school communities and other related community agencies
  • set out the key elements for delivery of effective drug and road safety education in school communities
  • encourage consistency between programs and within jurisdictions for the implementation of drug and road safety programs in school communities
  • inform policy and practice in drug and road safety education and function as a ready reference across a diverse range of possible audiences and contexts
  • identify within the school community, areas of strength and those that may require further planning
  • allow school communities to interpret and implement the principles to meet their own needs
  • ensure that resources and professional development are targeted to the key personnel within the school community
  • guide the development of evidence-based resources and programs
  • guide funding bodies to consider proposals for appropriate drug and road safety education
  • programs and initiatives
  • provide a rationale for not including limited one-off, single approaches in drug and road safety education programs.

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