Stop children being influenced to drink - End licensed bars in primary schools now
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Why do we let primary schools give children the wrong impression about alcohol? In 2014/15, primary schools sold alcohol to adults at over 9,000 child-centred events across England and Wales. That’s equivalent to one in three primary schools, or a licensed bar opening up every hour in a primary school every day of the year.
It’s putting up to five million children at risk of being influenced about alcohol in an environment that should be setting a better example.We’re already seeing 109 children a week admitted to hospital because of alcohol and today’s children could become tomorrow’s problem drinkers.
From a typical year group of 100 children we can expect that:
· 2 will be admitted to hospital with an alcohol-related condition
· 1 will be affected by alcohol-related crime
· 13 will go on to regularly binge drink
· 21 will regularly drink above recommended limits
· 3 will develop signs of alcohol dependence
Don’t our children deserve better than this?
A parent drinking a glass of wine at the school disco might sound harmless but it’s putting a child’s future happiness at risk. Research suggests that a child’s future attitude to alcohol is heavily influenced by their parent’s approach to drinking, particularly between the ages of six and ten. There’s evidence that children themselves are up to 80% more likely to drink alcohol if their mother drinks heavily. They’re also more likely to drink if they have a positive outlook on alcohol.
So when children see their parents drinking at the school disco it normalises alcohol and creates a positive expectation around drinking, creating an early link between alcohol and socialising. If children aren’t able to experience enjoyable social events where adults aren’t consuming alcohol they’ll get the impression that they need to drink to enjoy themselves.
So is it any wonder that as soon as they’re more independent they choose to drink in their own social setting? That’s why we’re calling on the UK Government to end licensed bars at child-centred events in primary schools now. After all, responsible drinking includes not drinking at all.
Primary schools need a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) to sell alcohol at an event. We’re calling on the UK Government to change the law so that these applications are automatically rejected for children’s events. Adults are there simply for the purpose of chaperoning, yet TENs are automatically granted unless there’s an objection from the police or environmental health.
With over one million alcohol-related hospital admissions and nearly 9,000 deaths every year isn’t it time to think again about licensed bars in primary schools? Isn’t this a bar too far?
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