Health Policy

Date: 15/10/2020

The present and future health, safety, and well-being of students is a primary concern of St. Clare’s. Health and success in College are interrelated. We cannot achieve our mission of education if students and staff are not healthy and fit physically, mentally, and socially. Unfortunately, many surveys indicate that alarming proportions of young people engage in behaviours that put them at risk of serious health problems. We appreciate our duty to help prevent unnecessary injury, disease, and chronic health conditions that can lead to disability or early death. So that our students can learn to take responsibility for their own health and adopt health-enhancing attitudes and behaviours we have the following aims:

  • to provide a safe and healthy environment for students to learn and work, with a climate that nurtures learning, achievement, and growth of character;
  • all students shall be taught the essential knowledge and skills they need to become “health literate” – that is, to make health-enhancing choices and avoid behaviours that can damage their health and well-being;
  • to be organised to reinforce students’ adoption of health-enhancing behaviours, and College staff shall be encouraged to model healthy lifestyles; and
  • to ensure that the nutrition, health services, and social services students need in order to learn are provided.  

St. Clare’s health programme incorporates the following objectives:

1.     continual development of a College environment that is safe; that is physically, socially, and psychologically conducive to good health; and that promotes health-enhancing behaviours;

2.     provision of a sequential health education programme delivered through the PSHE sessions, that is designed to motivate and help students maintain and improve their health, prevent disease, and avoid health-related risk behaviours and that is taught by well-prepared, well-supported teachers and carefully chosen outside experts;

3.     ‘Healthy World, Healthy College, Healthy You’ programme focusing on Physical, Emotional, Technological, Global, Study and Future Health. The programme includes a number of initiatives addressing all six aspects of health as previously mentioned. 

3.     requirement to participate in physical education opportunities through our activities programme, in particular sports and outdoor education, that all students enjoy and can pursue throughout their lives; that is taught by well-prepared and well-supported staff;

4.     provision of an appealing choice of nutritious foods by our catering dept.; delivery of nutrition instruction integrated within the academic curriculum and PSHE; and a College environment that encourages students to make healthy food choices;

5.     a College health service designed to ensure access to our Nurse, Health Care Practisioner or referral to the College Counsellor or appropriate health care services; foster appropriate use of health care services; prevent and control communicable disease and other health problems; provide emergency care for illness or injury. 


The College catering department offers a wide and varied range of food that allows students to eat healthily. When students complete the joining documents prior to arrival at St. Clare’s, they are asked to identify any sensitivity or allergy to food. Those students that have special dietary needs, for example, they require a gluten free diet, will meet with the Nurse soon after arrival. The Nurse will discuss their needs and will also arrange an appointment for the student to meet with the Catering Manager who will set up an individual meal plan with the student, if required. The same procedure is followed for any student that may develop sensitivities or allergies to food whilst at St. Clare’s.  

Personal, Social and Health Education Policy

St. Clare’s strives to provide a broad and balanced educational programme which emphasises personal, social and health education as well as the more traditional academic education. To this end, all staff, whether administrative, academic or pastoral, are oriented in their professional duties towards promoting full health and continually increasing health awareness amongst the student body. 

As an educational establishment St. Clare’s has a responsibility to inform its students about the facts related to health education issues e.g. sexual behaviour, smoking, alcohol, drugs, personal relationships and peer pressure, to help them establish the skills necessary for clear decision-making and then support those who need special counselling or help with problems. 

The PSHE programme

The Personal, Social and Health Education programme is designed, delivered and monitored by the group of Personal Tutors with the aid of invited professionals under the direction of the Assistant Principal, Pastoral. It seeks to address the needs of the students on the different courses offered by St. Clare’s, as determined by their age, gender and cultural background.

Features of the PSHE programme:-

  • we welcome outside speakers throughout the year to discuss with students a range of welfare issues e.g. drug awareness and internet safety.
  • Personal Tutors and the College Nurses prepare and deliver workshops on areas relevant to the promotion of health education; including sessions on Healthy Living, Smoking Cessation, Drug Awareness, Alcohol, Sex Education, Consent, First Aid and Stress Management and more.
  • the College Nurses have as a target the education of students to greater levels of self-care.

Health education topics shall also be integrated into other subject areas. This is intended to complement, not substitute for, a comprehensive health education programme.  College staff shall co-operate with other agencies, organisations, and individuals conducting health education in the community. Guest speakers invited to address students shall receive appropriate orientation to the relevant policies of St. Clare’s. College staff are encouraged to work with community organisations to provide opportunities for student volunteer work related to health. 

Sex and relationships education policy

The aim of the sex and relationships education policy is to clarify the provision of sex and relationships education to all students (including education about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections). Sex and relationship education is delivered principally through the PSHE programme.

Sex and relationships education is provided in a way that ensures students are provided with teaching materials which are appropriate, having regard to the age and cultural background of the students concerned. 

Included in the PSHE programme will be treatment of relationships, sexually transmitted infections, peer pressure, unhealthy relationships, consent ​as well as sex. Young people will need a clear understanding of the arguments for delaying sexual activity and resisting pressure. It may be necessary to link sex and relationship education with issues of peer pressure and other risk-taking behaviour, such as drugs and alcohol, and ensure that young people understand how the law applies to sexual relationships. Students are also educated about serious matters such has child sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.

Teachers and boarding staff have a responsibility to ensure the safety and welfare of students and therefore act in loco parentis. The personal beliefs and attitudes of College staff will not influence the teaching of sex and relationship education within the PSHE framework.  

Staff are required to adhere to the College’s policy on confidentiality between themselves and students, especially when they believe that a student has embarked on a course of conduct that would place him or her at risk or in breach of the law. Staff cannot offer or guarantee absolute confidentiality.  

If there is evidence of abuse the College’s child protection procedure should be followed (refer to the Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy). 

Drugs education policy

The misuse of both legal and prohibited drugs can cause drug dependency and lead to criminal activity. Emotional and intellectual damage can be caused by drug misuse over time e.g. cannabis can cause loss of short term memory, paranoia and anxiety.

The aim of the St. Clare’s drugs education policy is to acknowledge and clarify the College’s role in drug prevention and drug education. The policy is intended to provide information about procedures in response to any drug-related incident and provide guidance and information to teachers, students and parents. 

St. Clare’s adopts a whole-College approach on the issue of drugs as part of our commitment to being a healthy College. The policy includes our procedures for responding to drug-related incidents. The sanctions for such incidents are consistent with our College regulations and disciplinary procedures. All students have the College regulations regarding the use of illegal drugs clearly explained to them by their Warden and by their Personal Tutors if they are day students. 

The Principal takes overall responsibility for the policy and its implementation and for liaison with the Governors and parents. The general responsibility for handling the daily implementation of this policy is delegated to the Vice Principal, Pastoral. 


This policy includes cannabis/marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, heroin and any other drugs illegal under British law; this list is not exhaustive. Solvents, which may be abused, and substances called ‘legal highs’ are also banned in St. Clare’s.

The College believes that the possession and use of such drugs (or the equipment associated with illegal drug use) in College or during the College day is inappropriate. All the drugs covered in this policy are not permitted to be bought, sold, or otherwise obtained on College premises or during the College day, including when students are on College visits.

Drugs Education

The College provides a planned drug education curriculum as part of PSHE that reflects knowledge and understanding, attitudes and personal and social skills. Drugs education will:

  • enable students to make healthy, informed choices by increasing knowledge, exploring their own and other people’s attitudes and developing and practising skills
  • promote positive attitudes towards healthy lifestyles
  • provide accurate information about substances
  • increase understanding about the implications and possible consequences of use and misuse
  • encourage an understanding for those experiencing or likely to experience substance use
  • widen understanding about related health and social issues, e.g. sex and sexuality, crime and HIV/AIDS
  • seek to minimise the risks that users and potential users face
  • enable young people to identify sources of appropriate personal support.  

Drug education may be delivered by teachers as part of the PSHE programme, but where appropriate, outside visitors may contribute and will be aware of the College drug policy. The College actively co-operates with other agencies such as community police, social services and health and drug agencies to deliver its commitment to drugs education.  

Disciplinary procedures

  • In instances involving substance misuse or supply on the premises, and following discussion between staff members who know the student, parents will be informed at the earliest opportunity by the Principal or Vice Principal, Pastoral. The College and parents can then work together to support the student involved.
  • If a student admits to using or supplying substances off the premises, informing the Vice Principal, Pastoral is appropriate action. The Vice Principal, Pastoral will inform the parents.
  • Though we have no legal obligation to inform the police, they may be able to give relevant support and advice. Where it is strongly suspected or known that substances are continuing to be used or sold on the premises, details regarding those involved, as well as much information as possible, may be passed to the Police Liaison Officer or Community Affairs Department.
  • The College will consider each substance abuse incident individually and recognise that a variety of responses will be necessary to deal with incidents. We seek to balance the interests of the student involved, other College members and the local community. 

The following protocol will be applied:- 

1.     St. Clare’s staff who discover drugs or drug using equipment must inform the Vice Principal, Pastoral immediately.

2.     Where there is suspicion of illegal drug use the Assistant Principal, Pastoral (IB) must be informed immediately.

3.     College reserves the right to search, without prior warning, the rooms(s) of student(s) suspected of using or supplying drugs. The student(s) will be present wherever possible and a written report of the room search and any finding will be made and filed.

4.     College reserves the right to insist on a student taking a drugs test should be there be concern that s/he is using drugs or as part of a programme of random testing.

5.     College will infer that a student has been using drugs should s/he decline to take a test.

6.     Use, possession or a positive drugs test for cannabis/marijuana will lead to suspension, regardless of when or where the drugs were used.

7.     Use, possession or a positive drugs test for ecstasy, cocaine, heroin and any other drugs illegal under British law may lead to expulsion, regardless of when or where the drugs were used.

8.     Students found using, possessing or testing positive for illegal drugs will be automatically suspended and their parents/guardians informed that they have been removed from College.

9.     Students who sell, push, supply, distribute, share or deal in drugs (whether for financial gain or not), or students found to possess a quantity of drugs consistent with the sale or supply will be subject to immediate expulsion; the police will be ​informed.

10.  College reserves the right to inform police of any illegal drug use that is suspected or proven in order to safeguard the members of this community.

11.  All drugs covered by this policy will be confiscated by College staff and police advice will be taken regarding their safe disposal.

12.  Upon returning to College, a student who had been suspended for infringement of the drugs regulations will be required to agree to have their Personal Tutor, Warden and the Assistant Principal, Pastoral monitor their behaviour, as a condition of their remaining at St. Clare’s. Any further drugs involvement may result in expulsion for a student who has returned to College under such conditions. A student may not progress from Pre-IB to IB1 if, in the judgement of the College, the student’s behaviour is unsatisfactory; a positive drug test would be considered ‘unsatisfactory behaviour’.  

13.  Students who are permitted to return to St. Clare’s following suspension for infringement of the drugs regulations may be required to undergo subsequent drugs testing. This process will be under the supervision of the Nurses. They may also be required to see a College-nominated counsellor to discuss the issues surrounding their drug use and to identify strategies to ensure they don’t get involved in drug use again. 

Support will be extended to students returning to College following suspension for a drugs offence. Those thought to be at risk of addictive behaviour will be required to have professional counselling as a requirement of their return to college. The cost of this service must be borne by the student or his/her parents/guardians if the college counsellor does not have availability. 

For students who need emotional support, advice can also be obtained from the doctors at the Banbury Road Medical Centre. 

The professional counselling services of Libra, the Oxford based drugs agency, are available for students who need counselling and support dealing with drugs misuse.

Smoking policy

Smoking carries significant health risks and may lead to life-long dependency. Passive smoking is also a health hazard and diminishes the working and learning environment. Smoking in residential accommodation is a fire hazard and St. Clare’s takes very seriously its duty to protect the lives of its students and wardens. 

1.     St. Clare’s does not encourage or condone smoking; this includes the use of e-cigarettes.

2.     We endeavour to provide a smoke-free environment for all staff and students.

3.     In our PSHE programme we actively discourage students from starting to smoke.

4.     We will provide support for any smoker who wishes to give up smoking.

5.     Smoking/vaping is not permitted anywhere on campus

  • inside any buildings
  • in house back gardens or front gardens
  • outside houses
  • on the streets in the residential areas of North Oxford surrounding the college.​

6.    Students who persistently flout the smoking regulations will be suspended.​ In addition, students who repeatedly break the regulations on smoking in their residential accommodation may be asked to leave college accommodation, which may involve their withdrawal from the College.

Alcohol abuse policy

Consumption of alcohol at levels regularly above the advised norms for non-dangerous social drinking carries health hazards. Moreover, while under the influence of alcohol students are more likely to lack due care in their actions. Resultant behaviours associated with excessive drinking include unsafe sex (with the dangers of HIV/AIDS, STI’s and unplanned pregnancies) and an increased accident rate. Alcohol consumption is not acceptable in some cultures and some students may be offended by its use. 

St. Clare’s policy on alcohol remains within the law concerning alcohol use and supply (The Licensing Act of 1964, for England and Wales). It stipulates that it is an offence for a person under the age of 18 to buy alcohol or for another person to sell alcohol to a person under the age of 18, with the following exception: in licensed premises, when accompanied by a responsible adult i.e. a staff member or parent, 16 and 17 year olds may drink (not buy) alcohol (one small beer, wine or cider, but not spirits), but only to consume with a table meal (not a snack).

Excessive and/or illegal drinking and drunkenness will cause residential staff to become involved with those students whose behaviour is causing concern.  

Incidents will be reported to the Assistant Principal, Pastoral and/or the Vice Principal, Pastoral.

Parents will be informed of cases of underage drinking and of serious alcohol-related incidents. 

Most recent review and/or amendment

VPP July 2020