Peterborough referral unit allows pupils to smoke

Honeyhill Centre and Pupil Referral Unit in Peterborough Pupils at the referral unit in Peterborough are allowed smoking breaks

Related Stories

The head teacher of a school for children with behavioural issues has defended her decision to permit pupils to smoke.

Students aged 14 to 16 at the Honeyhill Pupil Referral Unit in Peterborough are allowed two supervised off-site smoking breaks each day, with parental consent.

Claire George said allowing smoking stopped some pupils from "absconding".

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson said he had asked the city council, which runs the unit, to review the policy.

Ms George said: "Pupils who attend Honeyhill do so because they have failed, many more than once, in mainstream education.

"They are amongst the most challenged and challenging young people within the city and most have complex issues."

Teenager smoking Pupils have also been offered support to stop smoking

The school's approach to keeping them in the education system therefore had to be "different", she said.

"Our approach is that pupils who already smoke on admission can, with parental consent, have up to two 10-minute, off-site, fully supervised smoking breaks a day.

"We appreciate that some people will not agree with this approach, but we have found it far more effective than simply banning smoking, which our experience shows us leads to pupils not attending school or absconding during the day to smoke unsupervised, often in dangerous situations.

"All pupils are required to hand in smoking-related materials at the beginning of each day," she said.

'End the practice'

The pupils were also offered support to stop smoking, Ms George added.

A spokesperson for anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) said: "If the unit does not allow alcohol or drugs, why would they allow smoking?

"It is totally out of kilter with current health advice and they should think seriously about reversing the policy."

The Conservative Mr Jackson said: "I've asked the city council to review this with the school and try to find a way to end the practice."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Cambridgeshire



Min. Night 7 °C

Features & Analysis

  • Martin Gardner as a young manThink hard

    Was this man the world's greatest puzzle master?

  • Carved pumpkinTrick or treat

    What did a riot at a pumpkin festival show about race in US?

  • A woman puts on a surgical mask during hospital Ebola training in Alabama.'Dark continent'

    Is prejudice fuelling Ebola outbreak hysteria in the US?

  • Oscar de la Renta and Oprah WinfreyIn pictures

    The life and work of Oscar de la Renta

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FutureThe future is now

    Get the latest updates and biggest ideas from BBC Future’s World-Changing Ideas Summit


  • Smart glassesClick Watch

    Smart spectacles go into battle – the prototypes looking to take on Google Glass

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.