School criticised for allowing pupils as young as 11 to SMOKE in the playground

Oct 18, 2013 by

Staff gave children between 11 and 16 permission to smoke at break

Staff at the Elmete Central School in Roundhay, Leeds, have given children between 11 and 16 permission to smoke their cigarettes during break and lunchtimes on school grounds

Staff at the Elmete Central School in Roundhay, Leeds, have given children between 11 and 16 permission to smoke their cigarettes during break and lunchtimes on school grounds

 

The school educates ‘some of the city’s most challenging young people’. 

A teaching source said: ‘Youngsters have been allowed to smoke between 11.10am-11.20am and again over lunchtime from 12.20pm-1.10pm, until Wednesday this week.

‘Pupils handed in their cigarettes and possessions each morning and were handed back their cigarettes, at the allocated times each day.


‘Considering the youngest are only 11, it does not seem right. Staff have to go some way off the school grounds if they wish to smoke.’

 

Elmete Central School in Leeds provides inclusive specialist education for pupils with behaviour, emotional and social difficulties.

It is understood the policy was put in place by the previous head teacher as a compromise as some of the children were not attending school and were occasionally leaving the premises when they did attend.

It is thought pupils were allowed to smoke in a controlled environment and to keep them on site.

The current head teacher has only been in charge for a few days and has agreed
to ensure the policy does not continue.

Anti-smoking health campaigners have labeled the decision ‘inappropriate, wrong and unethical’.

And Leeds City Council education chiefs have launched an investigation at the school for 75 pupils with behavioural and emotional difficulties.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of UK anti-smoking health charity ASH, said: ‘Allowing children to smoke at school is wrong in so many ways.

It is believed cigarettes were confiscated at the beginning of the day but then handed back to pupils by staff later in the day

It is believed cigarettes were confiscated at the beginning of the day but then handed back to pupils by staff later in the day

 

‘It is illegal to sell tobacco to young people under the age of 18 precisely because tobacco
is so hazardous to health and wellbeing.

‘It is totally inappropriate and unethical to allow children to smoke in a school environment.

‘The school wouldn’t allow children to drink so why are they allowing them to smoke? We urge the school to urgently review this policy.’

Scott Crosby, regional tobacco control policy manager for Yorkshire and the Humber, added: ‘By the age of 15, around one in eight school children have become regular smokers. just one cigarette can make children more likely to start smoking several years later.



‘Children who smoke often become regular adult smokers of which Half will die as a result of their habit.

‘Children will also suffer immediate health consequences from smoking, coughs, increased phlegm, wheeziness and shortness of breath, and take more time off school’.

Anti-smoking health campaigners have labelled the decision ‘inappropriate, wrong and unethical’

 

Paul Brennan, deputy director for children’s services, at Leeds City Council said: ‘We take this issue very seriously and as soon as it was brought to our attention we spoke to the school and issued an instruction that it must stop immediately.

‘We are confident that this practice has now ceased.

‘The recently appointed headteacher has agreed to review any such practices and to make sure this does not happen in the future we will conduct unannounced visits by local authority staff.

‘We have a strict no smoking policy in all of our schools and encourage them to
promote healthy lifestyles to all pupils.’

The school regularly invites health professionals into school to talk about the dangers of smoking and offers help and advice to stop.

The schools website states: ‘All staff, including support staff work to remove barriers to learning, and support the pastoral needs of learners.’

It also states they work to provide positive role models.

A recent Ofsted report noted that the confidence young people have in staff, was high.

via School criticised for allowing pupils as young as 11 to SMOKE in the playground | Mail Online.

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