Alcohol at staff parties

It’s up to you to decide whether staff can drink alcohol at social events like Christmas parties. Take a look at some of the things to consider, and see how other schools approach this issue.

Last reviewed on 14 September 2021
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 4235
  1. The choice is yours - there's no official guidance on this
  2. If the event’s during the school day, don’t have alcohol
  3. Can we use the school budget?
  4. What do other schools do?

The choice is yours - there's no official guidance on this

The Department for Education doesn't have specific rules on this. That means whether staff can pop a cork or two is at the discretion of the headteacher and the governing board. 

Check with your local authority (LA) first if you're a maintained school because it may have its own rules. 

Be sensitive to your staff’s needs

This is especially important if the event is mandatory or there’s a clear expectation that staff will attend – for example, a goodbye party for a long-serving school leader. You should always have non-alcoholic options available as well. If staff are uncomfortable being around alcohol for any reason, be willing to make adjustments.

If pupils are going to be at the same event, you’ll need to set out clear rules for staff on whether they can