THE headteacher of a Newport primary school has spoken of her battle to stop parents from smoking by the school gates.

Tredegar Park Primary School in Duffryn is one of more than 100 schools across Wales that have joined ASH Wales’ Smokefree Schoolgates campaign, in a bid to stop parents from lighting up by the gates.

The No Smoking Day campaign, backed by the Children’s Commissioner for Wales Sally Holland and Eluned Morgan, minister for mental health and wellbeing comes just days after it became illegal to smoke on school grounds in Wales.

The legislation banning smoking inside school grounds came into force on March 1, and is the latest in a raft of measure to combat stubbornly high youth smoking rates in Wales where an estimated 6,000 children take up the habit every year.


Jenny Thomas, headteacher of Tredegar Park Primary School described the problems caused by parents gathering to smoke outside her school gates:

“We have received several complaints from parents that there appear to be groups of parents smoking just beyond our school gates," she said. "The caretaker has politely asked them to stop smoking or to move away from the gates.

"The response has generally been negative.

"They will say that they are not on school property and that they can do as they please on council property. Many forms of communication have gone out to ask them to stop in order to protect our school community.

“It is important to stop this from happening so that my families feel safe as they come into school and leave school. A school shouldn’t be a place where people are worried about inhaling smoke.

"I genuinely believe that the children give the best messages to parents. If our children see the signs and know that it shouldn’t happen, they will tell their parents. We are hopeful that our parents will learn from our children.”

The Children’s Commissioner for Wales Sally Holland praised the Smokefree Schoolgates campaign and said she is delighted that so many schools have signed up to take part.

“All children and young people have a right to good health under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child," she said. "The harm to health caused by smoking, for both smoker and those around them, is something we should all strive to protect children from.”