About Health and Smokefree

The pack contains: 

  • Introductory lessons from pupils in Early Years – Primary 3 as a means of introducing the topic of tobacco and preparing the pupils for the structured lessons.
  • Lesson Plans and all required Resources for both the Primary and Secondary years – running from Primary 4 right through to Secondary 5/6.
  • A 6 week workshop programme designed for Secondary pupils, or pupils who are disengaged from formal education, focusing on support sessions to help pupils who smoke to quit. These can be delivered by school staff to small groups of pupils as a means of offering a proactive and solution based focus to dealing with nicotine addiction.

The pack is targeted at all schools in Lanarkshire to be delivered across all stages from Primary 4 through to Secondary 5/6 and also includes some introductory lesson ideas aimed at early level. In Secondary, the lessons will most likely be delivered as part of the Health & Wellbeing PSE course, however, in schools which do not offer a period of PSE per week, it would be appropriate for curriculum areas such as Home Economics, PE, Drama, Social Subjects and ICT with the inter disciplinary aspects of the lessons highlighted throughout the pack.  The pack, in particular the workshop programme, would be appropriate for other youth settings, such as alternative education establishments or deliverers of programmes for pupils who are disengaged from mainstream schooling. It would offer an equally useful framework for dealing with smoking related issues within different centres from schools.This introduction will offer you some additional information about the methodology of the lessons and support and guidance in their delivery.

Ethos of the lessons

The pack is designed to try and move away from the strong “Don’t Smoke” message which has been the focus of previous provisions. We want to engage the pupils with the issue, offering them relevant information about the impact that smoking has on an individual, their family and society. We want to present young people with the facts and allow them to make their own decisions. We want young people to discuss their experiences of smoking and convey their personal thoughts and feelings about the issue. As many young people will have family members or friends who are smokers, we want to broaden their horizons to focus on the full range of issues relating to tobacco – by engaging in lessons focused on tobacco companies, peer pressure, media and tobacco advertising, global tobacco issues, the smoking ban and legislation and many more pertinent areas.

We believe that by avoiding a judgemental and condemning attitude towards smoking, we will be able to offer young people the support, advice and information in order to make good personal decisions relating to smoking.

The Delivery of the Materials

From the beginning of the formal lessons starting in Primary 4, pupils are introduced to the characters of Scott & Hannah. Scott and Hannah are the same age as the pupils in the class and designed to reflect the different experiences of young people at appropriate stages. Their story is used to engage the pupils with different tobacco issues – but by using the characters, it makes the situation more relatable and personalised.  Each year, as part of the lessons, the class is introduced to the next instalment of the character’s story. The story is told through power point presentation and along with the text, the characters are brought to life through illustrations designed by the artist David Kerr. The illustrations literally age along with the pupils in the class, developing the pupil’s ability to relate to and learn from the character’s choices.

In the Primary lessons, different parts of the story are introduced to the pupils at each different lesson. In Secondary, the story is the starting point for all work completed at each stage.

Each lesson plan details what materials are required and all associated resources are supplied with the pack. For most lessons, the teacher will need access to ICT and a projector, but some lessons require all of the pupils in the class to be able to access the internet through computers. This is included to aid personal research tasks.

The lessons employ a range of classroom approaches to engage the pupils with the lessons, including:

All of these activities are designed to be interactive, challenging and enjoyable for the pupils.

The lessons cover a broad range of issues relating to tobacco to try and give the pupils a clear understanding of the breadth and depth of the issue.

Teachers are encouraged to adapt the lesson plans as appropriate for their individual class. As well as this, we would encourage teachers to feedback any adaptations which they believe are particularly effective. Our goal is always to lower the number of young people choosing to start smoking and new, innovative ideas from teachers, or pupils, are welcomed and encouraged.

Curriculum for Excellence

The pack has been deigned to be completely compatible with Curriculum for Excellence. At the heart of the work completed is the drive to ensure all pupils are given the opportunity to be successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens.

All lessons clearly define how their content successfully achieves the experiences and outcomes for Health and Wellbeing. In addition to this, it also details the outcomes which are achieved from other curricular areas and therefore offers a number of tangible cross curricular links. We believe that the issue of tobacco is so diverse that it can serve as a focus point for a number of curricular subjects; in particular we employ lessons which relate to areas as diverse as Expressive Arts, Social Subjects, Sciences and ICT. We would actively encourage teachers to use the supplied resources as a starting point to develop interdisciplinary working and have highlighted ideas for links throughout the pack.

As well as this, we have identified the requirement that all curricular areas have to include links which will help to develop pupil’s Literacy and Numeracy skills. Pupils have opportunities through specifically defined tasks which challenge their skills in this area to produce a piece of work that could be included within their Literacy and Numeracy portfolios (please refer to the Secondary lessons plans for period 2 and 5 for examples of this.)

Clearly as we explore tobacco as a social and personal issue, we are placing a strong emphasis on developing pupil’s skills for learning and skills for life. Through lessons focused on personal fitness and the impact of smoking, how to make good decisions and the challenges of quitting smoking, young people are given support and a systematic approach to making choices which will impact on their health and lifestyle. They will learn about their own views by empathising with the position of a smoker. We have also enhanced the pack by exploring skills for work by looking at how smoking impacts on the world of work in terms of positions created within the NHS and the costs associated to smoking for the health service and council organisations.

One of the key strengths attributed to the pack by the groups of young people, teachers, health professionals and parents who helped develop it, is the way that progression is embedded in the work. The pack employs two characters who age and develop at the same rate of the pupils being taught. This begins at Primary 4 and runs throughout until Secondary 5/6. The areas of transition are easily handled as both Primary and Secondary staff are able to identify what has previously been taught, how it ties in with the current work of the class and where it will lead in the years to follow. As well as this, the pupils are able to make coherent links with the work previously completed and understand the journey that they are moving on with the characters. Work on areas such as tobacco and health issues are constantly being developed as appropriate with the level of the pupils and so there is no feeling of repetition or the same message being delivered over and over again. It is a journey of progression that teachers, pupils and parents are able to understand and be actively involved in.

As Curriculum for Excellence defines, the school curriculum should be designed on the basis of the following principals and as has been demonstrated in the section above, these lessons set out to meet all of these aspects:

Guidance on Sensitive Issues

Please be aware that the pack deals with a number of sensitive issues relating to tobacco use. Within the storyline, the character of Hannah’s grandfather dies due to health complications caused by smoking. In S4, pupils are encouraged to explore the issues around cannabis use and present different sides of the argument through a debate activity. These are just two examples of potentially contentious issues. As well as this, it is important to remember that a number of the pupils in the class will have family members who are smokers and this may also cause some individuals concern. The lessons should be delivered by a member of staff who knows the pupils well and is able to positively deal with these issues should they arise. Regardless of a pupil’s personal situation, the danger of tobacco use is a fact and teachers should ensure that this message is not cushioned but presented openly and honestly to the pupils in the class.  Support pupils to speak about their experiences of smoking and how this has impacted on their views.

As well as this, NHS Lanarkshire offer teachers additional training and support to ensure that they are able to effectively deliver the content of the lessons and any school wishing this should contact the Smoking Prevention and Education Programme Manager on SIYEmanager@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk.  In addition to this, we are aware that tobacco addiction can be a contentious issue for teachers delivering the pack particularly if they are smokers.  If you are a smoker wishing to stop, we encourage you to seek advice and support from NHS Lanarkshire.

Consultation and Evaluation of Resources/Support Available

As part of the quality assurance of this resource, pupils, parents, teachers and health staff were consulted to ensure that the lessons were effective. The result of this was very positive, however, lessons of this type can very quickly appear dated or factual information becomes obsolete. If you have any feedback, ideas or require any further support to help you deliver these lessons, please contact the Smoking Prevention and Education Programme Manager on SIYEmanager@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk.

We hope that you find the lessons and resources to be an effective addition to your curriculum and we sincerely hope that it can have a positive impact on making young people question the issues surrounding tobacco use and make a positive and informed choice which promotes happy, healthy lifestyle choice.