A WORRIED parent’s fears that drug use at Devizes School is getting “swept under the rug” have been denied by the new head, who says he is doing everything he can to keep the premises drug free.

The parent of a child at the school claimed that cannabis use among school pupils is growing.

They told the Gazette: “There are problems and the school is sweeping them under the rug. I am absolutely fuming, I don’t want my children exposed to drugs at school. Even a small bit of cannabis could easily turn into a gateway drug for a child, and we can’t let that happen. I want people to start speaking about this and finding a solution.”

Julian Morgan, principal of Devizes School, said help was needed from the wider community to quell the town-wide, rather than school-centric, problem.

He said: “We like all others have a zero tolerance policy towards drugs and we have no specific issues. Our challenge is that we have no authority outside of school, and therefore work closely with the police to extend our boundaries of outreach.

“Isolation, exam concerns, and difficulties within households have led to stress, anxiety and mental health issues in young people across the nation. We monitor the well being of our students and work hard with a variety of external agencies to support them with positive coping strategies through these difficult times.

“Both the school and police need the collaboration of parents, carers, and the community to identify and communicate the negative effects of substance abuse. I hope the Devizes community will show solidarity with the school in our quest to improve the mental health of young people by raising its importance amongst their family and friends.”

There have been more than 2,600 cases involving drugs on school grounds were reported to police in England and Wales between 2016 and 2019, according to data released to the Times this year under Freedom of Information (FOI) laws.

The overwhelming majority of cases involved cannabis, the most widely used illegal drug in the country, according to the NHS.

A spokesman from Wiltshire Police told the Gazette and Herald there was “no specific issue” of illegal drug use at Devizes School.

He added: “We are aware of a cannabis drug use issue amongst some young people in the town and are engaging with those groups to educate and inform around the issues of illegal drugs.”

“We work closely with all schools and the local community in helping educated and inform around the issues and laws surrounding illegal drug use.”