Alcohol And Smoking Policy

Alcohol and Smoking Policy

This policy has been authorised by the Principal and is available to parents and students on request.  It can be made available in large print or other accessible format if required.  The policy relates to possession and consumption of alcohol and tobacco and applies to all students at Ashbourne College (College) irrespective of their age . The policy may also apply at times when a student is not in the care of the College.  The procedures and sanctions may be adapted as appropriate to meet the policy aims and the circumstances of each case.  Certain of the procedures can only be carried out during term time.  This policy has been informed by the ‘DfE and ACPO drug advice for schools’ (DFE-00001-2012).

Alcohol means intoxicating liquor of all descriptions (including beer, cider, wine and spirits) and this policy covers obtaining, consuming, and supplying alcohol.

Smoking means the use of tobacco products and paraphernalia including cigarettes, cigars and pipes.

1. Policy Aims

The central aims of this policy are:

  • To promote safety, welfare and good physical and mental health;
  • To promote a mature and moderate approach to the use of alcohol;
  • To reduce the risk of alcohol-induced misconduct in and out of College;
  • To prevent under age purchase of alcohol and excessive consumption of alcohol;
  • To prevent smoking inside and outside College.

1.1 Context: This policy will be driven by means of education, pastoral care, College rules, detection of unauthorised use of alcohol, detection of smoking and the College’s Student Behaviour and Exclusions Policy.  This policy should also be read with the College’s Drugs and Substances Policy, which covers the use of illegal drugs and substances.

1.2 Education: We educate students to understand the effect and risks associated with alcohol and tobacco, in relation to their health and well-being and the law.  We educate by means of personal development courses and by example, by discussion and by authorising moderate alcohol consumption by sixth formers under staff supervision at certain times in the College and on certain College trips .

1.3 Pastoral care: We encourage students to discuss in confidence any anxieties they may have about use of alcohol or tobacco with a member of staff or the College counsellor.  Matters brought into counselling by a student or his/her parents, in circumstances which are genuine, will be “ring-fenced” from disciplinary sanctions or adverse report, but a student who contravenes this policy will face disciplinary sanctions.

2. College Rules

The rules forbid a student from:

  • Smoking inside the College ;
  • Bringing alcohol onto College premises or being in unsupervised possession of alcohol or obtaining or supplying alcohol to another, or being impaired by alcohol while on College premises or in the care of the College;
  • Bringing the College into disrepute for any reason associated with alcohol or tobacco, whether or not the student is in the care of the College at the time. Action will be taken when the welfare of any member of the College community or the reputation of the College is affected.
  • Staff will not smoke directly outside any of the Ashbourne Sites nor in the direct company of students. This protects both staff and students and further enhances the college policy of prohibiting smoking on any of the premises. It also reflects the importance and consideration given to the potential effect of ‘modelled behaviour’ on the student body;
  • students in the Middle School and Sixth Form are not permitted to smoke on or off-site during the College hours of 9am-6pm even if they are over 16.

2.1 Detection: Every complaint, report, or observation in relation to alcohol or tobacco will be followed up and investigated.  In relation to alcohol, a student may be asked to give a sample of breath in accordance with the procedures set out below.

2.2 Sanctions: For a minor breach of this policy, the normal sanction is detention.  For a serious breach or persistent minor breaches, a student may be suspended or required to leave the College permanently.

3. Testing for alcohol

3.1 Breath test: A student suspected of unauthorised consumption of alcohol may be asked to give a sample of his/her breath by blowing into a breathalyser .  The reason for this policy is:

  • To deter breaches of College discipline;
  • To encourage students to be truthful when under suspicion;
  • To absolve those who have been wrongly suspected.

3.2 Suspicion: Reason to suspect alcohol consumption may arise as a result of information or a complaint received or because of a student’s behaviour or demeanour.

3.3 Method of use: Only members of staff who have received training will be authorised to administer the breathalyser .  In general, they will be members of the Senior Management Team.

3.4 Informed consent: The relevant consent to a breath test is that of the student rather than the parents, even if the student is under 16 years of age, provided s/he is of sufficient maturity and understanding and gives his/her informed consent in writing.  Parents will normally be notified only if the breath test has proved positive.

3.5 Refusal: If a student refuses to provide a sample of breath,  s/he will be asked to say why s/he has refused.  The College will be entitled to draw inferences from his/her response and general demeanour.

3.6 Record: A written record will be kept when a student is asked to take a test and its outcome will be recorded.

4. Subsequent action of testing for alcohol

4.1 Procedure: The College will treat a positive test, although not infallible, as evidence that the student has consumed alcohol.  The following procedure will apply:

  • the student will be asked to give his/her explanation;
  • if the student has refused a test or denies alcohol consumption after a positive test and refuses to give a sample, his/her parents will be informed and a meeting will be arranged with the Principal or, in his absence, one of his deputies .  The student may be accompanied by his/her parents or by a member of the College staff chosen by him/her to assist him/her;
  • all relevant evidence, including a positive test result, will be put to the student and s/he will be invited to respond;
  • his/her response will be heard and considered and further enquiries will be made if necessary;
  • the Principal will make a finding of fact based on the evidence and supported by reasons.

4.2 Sanction:  If the Principal’s decision after considering all the material evidence is that the student has consumed alcohol, the Principal will outline the range of sanctions s/he is considering and will then, or at a later meeting if requested, hear mitigating circumstances and consider the student’s academic and disciplinary record and the extent to which s/he has co-operated, before deciding on the sanction.

4.3 Review: If the student is expelled or required to leave, s/he and his/her parents will be offered a Review which will normally take place within ten days under a separate procedure, and his/her suspension may be continued in the interim.


5. Smoking: A student under the age of 16 who is caught smoking, suspected of smoking, in possession of tobacco or smoking paraphernalia will be subject to the College’s disciplinary procedures. Middle School students are not allowed to smoke even if they are over 16.

Students over age 16 may be in possession of tobacco or smoking paraphernalia, but must be stored discreetly and out of site of other students when on the College premises.  Students carrying cigarettes or smoking paraphernalia around the College in an overt manner (for example by placing cigarettes behind the ear) will be subject to the College’s disciplinary procedures.

6. Review: This policy review includes an evaluation of the effectiveness of alcohol and smoking education in the College.

Authorised by The Principal
Date September 2023
Effective date of the policy September 2023
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / Students on request
Review date September 2026
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