ANDOVER schools and colleges have come together to keep students safe from harm has become an even stronger force.

The Hampshire Safe partnership has grown from 12 to 18 schools and colleges after welcoming new members from Andover.

Joining the founding New Forest and Waterside members are John Hanson Community School, Harrow Way Community School, Test Valley School, Smannell Field School, Winton Community Academy and Andover College.

Hampshire Safe was formed in 2018 to educate and warn students about the dangers of drugs.

Member schools have developed a drug prevention and substance misuse strategy, run initiatives offering safeguarding advice and occasionally deployed deterrent dogs.

Speaking on behalf of Hampshire Safe, Nigel Pressnell, headteacher of The Arnewood School in New Milton, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Andover schools and colleges into our partnership.

“New Forest parents have been great supporters and allies since we formed and I am sure this will be replicated in Andover.

“Schools and colleges play an important role alongside parents and the police in educating and preventing young people from falling victims to drug misuse and criminal exploitation.

“As this partnership grows we become even stronger in this combined initiative to keep students safe.”

Hampshire Safe also includes Noadswood School, Ringwood School, The Arnewood School, The Burgate School, Totton College, Brockenhurst College, Eaglewood School, Applemore College, Priestlands School, Greenwood School, Testwood School and Hounsdown School.

The Andover schools will be launching the news of joining the partnership with assemblies and a social media education campaign aimed at students.

Speaking on behalf of, and at the launch of Hampshire Safe in Andover, Headteacher of John Hanson Community School, Russell Stevens, said: “As headteachers and principals, we all share a common concern of the dangers that drugs can present to our students.

“Our overriding message is that we will do everything we can to protect our young people.

“Prevention will be the main key to this and we will be educating our young people to the dangers of drugs.

“Deterrents will also be a part of the partnership and we will, from time to time, use specialist dogs to detect any drugs that may have been brought onto our sites.”

Mike Serridge, headteacher of Harrow Way School, added: "As schools and colleges we play an important role alongside parents and the police in educating and preventing our young people from falling victims to drug misuse.

“We believe as a partnership we are even stronger in this fight in safeguarding our students from harm."

Inspector Paul Beale, of Hampshire Police, said: “We welcome and support the robust action being taken by Hampshire schools and colleges to tackle drug misuse.

“We will continue to work closely with schools to educate students about the dangers of drugs and deal with offences as they occur.”