Can I drink alcohol at staff social events?

Overview

It might be coming up to the Christmas party, prom season or the end of year social event at your school. You might be wondering if you are able to drink alcohol if the event is hosted in your school or the event is during school lunchtime.

In the first instance, if you are ever unsure of your school’s alcohol policy you should clarify the position with your line manager or headteacher. 

In this article, we look at examples of what different schools do and the process to follow if you are alleged of misconduct.

What do different schools do?

The Department for Education (DfE) has not published any guidance for schools on staff drinking alcohol at school social events. It will be at the discretion of the headteacher and the school governing body if the event is on the school site.

If the event is away from the school site and only adults will be in attendance (an evening meal out for example) you should be free to drink alcohol. Cheers!

If students will be in attendance, for example, during a prom event you will want to check with your school whether staff are allowed to drink alcohol at the event. Some schools operate alcohol-free prom events.

Primary Schools

  • Calverton Primary School in the London Borough of Newham has a drug education and incidents policy. The policy explains that alcohol is allowed on the premises for school social events when children are not present.
  • Our Lady and St. Anselm’s R.C. Primary School in Lancashire has an alcohol and drug policy for employees. It explains that schools arrange functions such as Christmas parties, birthday celebrations, leavers parties and school proms. The policy says if any employee attending such an event behaves inappropriately, or brings the school into disrepute, their conduct may be regarded as taking place ‘in the workplace’ and disciplinary action may be deemed appropriate.

We have published another article which outlines how the disciplinary process works in schools.

  • Pilgrims’ Way Primary School in the London Borough of Southwark has published its drug and alcohol policy. Its policy explains that adults at designated school functions, subject to compliance with licensing law and within reasonable limits, may consume alcohol.
  • In Fierte Multi-Academy Trust’s Staff Code of Conduct it explains that alcohol may be consumed responsibly on the school premises when the headteacher has given express permission, such as during an evening or weekend social function or a celebration event. 

Secondary Schools

  • Trinity High School and Sixth Form Centre in Worcestershire has a drugs education policy. It explains that adults are role models for students and should not use alcohol on premises with the exception of school productions, awards evening and staff social events. Staff should always adhere to the school’s code of conduct
  • Wellington School is a co-educational day and boarding school for pupils aged 3-18. It has a staff code of conduct which explains that staff must not drink alcohol during the normal school working day nor should they drink alcohol with pupils outside of the normal school working day. Drinking alcohol with pupils is only acceptable during formal, supervised and approved occasions, such as a House Dinner or Sixth Form Dinner or other such social event where pupils aged 16 or above are sitting eating a meal and where alcohol is controlled by designated members of staff at that meal. The consumption of alcohol on trips is permitted in moderation but at least one member of staff must not drink any alcohol in case of emergency. Drivers must not consume alcohol under any circumstances. 

What should I do if I am alleged of misconduct

Your school will investigate the alleged incident and instigate its disciplinary process if there is a case to be heard. If you are an Edapt subscriber we strongly recommend contacting us as soon as possible if you are accused of misconduct involving alcohol at your school.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.