The Smokefree Class Competition in Wales 2001-2002

Wales has participated in the Smokefree Class competition
since 1997-8. Each year the competition has been modified in light of comments
from participants.

The competition is run nationally, but with support from
local partners in education and health promotion services. The first stage each
year is to secure the support of these partners by writing to the Directors
of Education and the Directors of Public Health in each local area. Schools
are only contacted once this support has been confirmed.

The competition is open to all classes in Years 7 and 8
of our schools. These are the first two years of secondary schooling, and include
pupils aged between 11 and 13.

The competition is aimed at pupils in their registration
classes, but may also have relevance to Personal and Social Education (PSE)
in the school. For this reason initial contact with the schools is by flyers
sent to the Heads of Year 7 and Year 8, ie teachers with a pastoral responsibility
for the target pupils; and the Head of PSE. Each of these teachers was sent
10 flyers during October, together with a letter from the Chief Medical Officer
in Wales, encouraging them to suggest to the form teachers and pupils that they
send off for an entry pack. One copy of the flyer was sent for information to
the Headteacher and the school nurse.

Over a thousand copies of the entry pack were sent out during
November 2001. This pack contains details of the competition rules, and relevant
dates. Pupils are asked to sign an entry form, indicating that they do not smoke,
and wish to enter the competition. As long as 90% of the class agree to sign,
then the class is eligible to enter the competition and the entry form is returned
to the organisers.

The competition starts on the first Monday of December 2001,
and ends on the last Friday of April 2002.

The contract to run the fifth year of the competition has
been awarded to a PR company. They have been successful in gaining celebrity
support, including quotes, and offers of personal appearances. A press release
to announce the start of the competition was accompanied by photographs of the
Welsh football team with pupils from a participating school.

Feedback from teachers has meant that the format of the
materials will be the same as used previously, with teacher materials being
sent out monthly with commitment forms that are signed by pupils, and returned
to the organisers.

On receipt of the entry form, a small memento is sent for
each entrant. This year it is a calendar with celebrity pictures and quotes
about the benefits of staying smokefree. This is a significant change as it
will act as a reminder to pupils for the whole year, not just the five months
of the competition period.

The Smokefree Class competition does not stand alone; it
is part of a co-ordinated strategy in Wales to look at smoking prevention from
the ages of 3-16, and smoking cessation from 15 onwards.

All of our Smokefree Class materials can be seen on: