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Please don’t feel under any pressure if or when your son tells you that “everyone is going” or “everyone is doing it”. This isn’t true.

Thank you to the 140 parents who signed up for and attended the Paul Dillon presentation. With his usual level of detail and frankness, Paul delivered a report on the risks associated with drugs and alcohol in the teenage and young adult world. It was hugely informative, and I am afraid to say that it is relevant to all of us. As a parent, I had no idea that ‘edibles’ could appear as such innocent and easily overlooked candy snacks. I had no idea that some schools are having to suspend students daily for a wave of indiscretions relating to vaping. In my time at Saints, for example, there have been very few such incidents, which either tells me we need to look a little closer or accept that, in our community, this sort of behaviour is happening outside the hours of 8.30am to 3.30pm.

You can certainly be reassured that we are doing our bit and our best, in continuously reviewing and updating our educational programs on the subject. But, at the end of the day, the last set of eyes that your son looks into before heading out for a “sleepover” – or just “popping to a friend’s house” – are yours.

Many believe that we have a collective responsibility as parents to aim for a shared understanding in the expectations and boundaries we set for our sons. Yes, we should contact hosts of parties to confirm levels of adult supervision and access to alcohol – every time. Yes, we should demand to know where our children are going and who they are going with. We should talk to our sons about respectful interactions and relationships, and about consent. And you should accept that the social standing of your son will not be compromised by setting firm and consistent boundaries or by putting your foot down. At these times, reward yourself for caring and keeping him safe.

Please reach out to us for support (and to report) on such matters. Paul Dillon will return next year, and, in the meantime, we should keep the conversation going with our sons and with each other. The pastoral team intend to provide additional parent workshops, which we hope will not only attract greater audiences, but, most importantly, will prove to strengthen the home-school partnership in support of our students.

Thank you for your ongoing support and please continue to keep me updated on your son’s experience.

Marcus Blackburn
Deputy Headmaster/Head of Senior School

For more information, or to follow Paul on social media:
Instagram – where Paul uploads posts for young people every Saturday night
Alternatively visit Paul’s blog for young people where he answers their questions – The real deal on drugs