Information for schools

FRANK friends has been piloted in UK schools and has received overwhelmingly positive responses from teachers, students, parents and health and education sector professionals. The aim of the current study, which is taking place in 40 schools (24 in Wales and 16 in the West of England) is to assess whether the intervention is effective in changing students' knowledge, attitudes and behaviours on illicit drug use.

FRANK friends will run over three years, across 40 schools, and involved around 5655 students. It will evaluate the effectiveness of a peer-led drug prevention programme which draws on the the UK national drug education website www.talktofrank.com

Who is undertaking this study?

The Chief Investigator is Dr James White, Centre for Trials Research, Cardiff University. The Trial Manager in Wales is Dr Linda McConnon and the Trial Coordinator in England is Dr Sarah Bell. The team have extensive experience working in schools and engaging young people in research to ensure their views are heard. The research also involves:  University of Glasgow, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University of York.

What will my school have to do?

FRANK friends is unique, it trains UK Year 9  students, nominated by their peers as being influential, to have informal conversations with other Year 9 students about information on the risks of drug use from www.talktofrank.com. These students receive 2 days of training and ongoing support from Public Health Wales/the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network

Year 9 students in all 40 schools will complete the same questionnaire on two occasions (at the beginning of the research and 24 months later). The questionnaire takes around 40 minutes to complete. Students in 20 randomly selected schools will receive the FRANK friends programme. The other schools will carry on with their normal curriculum. In four randomly selected schools, students who received FRANK friends may be invited to take part in a focus group discussion with a researcher regarding their experiences of using the programme.

What will my school gain from taking part?

Participation in the study will also involve collecting data from students and teachers and in order to thank you for your assistance, a payment of £1000 will be provided to participating schools upon completion of data collection at the end of the study.

What will be done with the study findings?

The findings will be communicated to schools, Local Education Authorities, policy-makers and other researchers.  The names of all participating schools and individuals will be kept anonymous during this process. If the findings are positive, other schools will be encouraged to take up the intervention.

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