Accessing the ASSIST Programme

Q.  How do I access the programme?

A. ASSIST is available by purchasing a standard 3 year licence.

Q.  Why do I need to purchase a licence?

A. ASSIST is distributed via a licence so that DECIPHer IMPACT can control the quality of the programme in order to replicate the successful trial results.

Q.  What does a licence provide?

A. The licence provides a range of products and services including:

  • the use of all ASSIST materials and methodology
  • staff training
  • materials for up to 10 schools per year
  • quality assurance
  • seminars and conferences
  • helpdesk

Q. Can ASSIST licence holders charge schools for delivery costs?

A. We believe, and hence would much prefer that state schools should not be charged, as ASSIST is a public health programme (as is, for example, immunisation), rather than a school education programme. However, we recognise that with complex funding models, particularly those relating to academies, our customers might wish to pass on some delivery costs. If that is the case, we would wish to discuss this prior to ASSIST implementation, in addition to all other aspects of ASSIST delivery, in order to maximise the impact of the programme.

The Organiser

Q.  What does the Organiser role involve?

A.  The Organiser is generally responsible for setting up and co-ordinating the programme in their locality. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • identifying and training suitable trainers
  • ensuring that the programme is delivered in line with the ASSIST programme manual
  • providing information to DECIPHer IMPACT relating to the rollout of the programme in their locality
  • ensuring that quality standards are met by the trainers
  • liaising with schools taking part in the programme
  • co-ordinating delivery of ASSIST

Q.  Does the Organiser deliver training to the students?

A. The Organiser, if suitably experienced can deliver the programme in schools as part of the training team.

 Staff Training

Q.  Why does the Organiser need to attend a training course?

A. The training provided as part of the programme is very comprehensive to ensure that ASSIST is delivered consistently and to a high standard. The Organiser benefits from attending the programme even if they do not go on to deliver it, although they could do upon completion.  The training  course will provide them with the skills and information necessary be able to discuss the planning and delivery of ASSIST with schools, line management and trainers.

Q.  How long is the training course?

A. The training course takes place over 3 consecutive days.

Q.  Where will the training take place?

A. Training locations will vary depending on where delegates are travelling from.

Q.  Can you be involved in the programme without attending the training?

A. No. Organisers must attend the training so that they can then manage the programme and train the trainers.

The Trainers

Q.  What skills and qualifications do trainers need?

A. Ideally, trainers should have:

  • a background in working with young people. This could be in youth work, education or health promotion
  • tobacco knowledge is desirable, but not essential
  • an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check
  • completed any child protection training as required by their employer
  • an up to date first aid qualification

Please see the DECIPHer IMPACT website for a generic job description.

QIs an existing DBS check sufficient?

A.  Organisations do not always have the same requirements. If a trainer is already employed in another role by the same organisation for which is DBS is already in place, it MAY be used at the employer’s discretion. HOWEVER, it is always worth checking with your Human Resources Department or Local Authority. Trainers should not deliver training without a DBS which complies with the employer’s requirements/policy.

Freelance trainers are likely to have an existing DBS if they are already working with young people in a different capacity or for another organisation. You will need to ensure that they have a new DBS to deliver ASSIST training.

For further guidance:

Q.  What will the trainers do?

A. Apart from working with the students, they may liaise with schools, book venues, transport and catering. They may have to deal with parents also.

Q.  How many trainers will I need to run the programme?

A. The programme requires a ratio of 1 trainer per 10 students and for groups of over 30 peer educators, there will need to be 2 parallel training sessions requiring 4 trainers. One team of trainers could deliver to all schools with careful planning and time-tabling.

ASSIST is made up of 2 full days training with students plus 6 x 1 hour sessions. For this reason, it can be difficult to have all trainers available for each session. It is useful to have more trainers than you need at any one time to improve availability.

The ASSIST Programme

Q.  How does the programme work?

A. Influential students in Year 8 are identified by their peers. These students are then recruited to become peer supporters who pass on information relating to the benefits of remaining smoke free by engaging in informal conversations with other students in their year group.

Q.  How long does the programme take?

A. The programme takes between 10 and 14 weeks or the equivalent of a school term. This can include school holidays other than the main summer break.

The programme is made up of 6 x 1 hour sessions plus 2 days training with students off the school site.

Q.  How many students take part?

A. The programme requires a minimum of 80 students in a Year 8 cohort in order to be effective. The whole year group take part in the first session, after which approximately 18% of the most influential students continue and are trained to be peer supporters.

Q.  Why 18%?

A. In order for the programme to be effective, 15% of the children within the year group need to be trained. Recruiting 18% allows for children who cannot take part on the day due to holidays, illness, exclusion etc.

Q.  How much does the programme cost?

A. The majority of sessions take place on schools premises. It is compulsory though that the 2 days of training takes place off-site which incurs variable costs for venues, catering and transport. The school must also send a teacher to the training and the cost of supply cover may need to be taken into account although there is no responsibility for you to reimburse schools for this.

Q.  Why can’t the training take place in school?

A. ASSIST works for a number of reasons, one of which is that the training is not based in school and is not delivered by teachers. In order to replicate the effect, as reported in the trial, the programme needs to be delivered in the same way.

Q.  Can special schools and pupil referral units take part?

A. No, not at the moment. We do not have an evidence base to determine whether the same results would be achieved in these types of schools. It is also likely that the materials would need to be amended to ensure that they were suitable.

Quality Assurance

Q. What form will quality assurance take?

A. Quality assurance will be carried out in a number of ways. An observation visit, annual self-assessment, and regular discussion during customer seminars.  Observations will measure training against specific criteria with written feedback and discussion provided. Students will also be asked to feed back which provides useful content for trainers as well as DECIPHer Impact. Data from all customers will be collected and reported upon annually.


Q.  How will we know if ASSIST has been successful?

A. The programme works by replicating a successful intervention in order to replicate the results. Large scale evaluation was carried out as part of the trials which determined which elements need to be included in the programme in order to achieve a similar effect. It is not necessary to re-evaluate a programme which has been proven to be effective. This also reduces the cost to the customer.

Q.  Can a locality collect their own baseline information?

A. Yes.