Pupils ‘need more opportunities’ to learn about knife crime danger

Graham White, from Suffolk NEU Picture: GRAHAM WHITE

Graham White, from Suffolk NEU Picture: GRAHAM WHITE - Credit: Archant

Children “need more opportunities” to learn about the dangers of knife crime, according to an education union chief after statistics revealed an eight-year-old was caught with a bladed article at school.

Superintendent Kerry Cutler Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Superintendent Kerry Cutler Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The police figures, released under Freedom of Information (FoI) laws, showed there were 15 incidents of pupils caught with sharp instruments on school premises in Suffolk during the 2018/19 academic year.

Separate FoI data revealed 11 children were caught carrying knives at school in Suffolk during the 2018/19 financial year ending March 31, 2019.

Some of the offensive weapons schoolchildren have been caught with other than a blade this year include a knuckle duster, baton and a wrench.

Graham White, from National Education Union (NEU) Suffolk, said: "At any age it's horrific but particularly at primary school level.

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"Teachers aren't so concerned about themselves. It's the dangers to other children."

Mr White said it was imperative that more funding was put into schools and social care to help children stay away from knives.

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"We need more opportunities for children to learn the dangers of knife crime," he added.

"They have got to find more money to fund this."

The total number of incidents involving bladed or pointed articles or offensive weapons in Suffolk schools rose from 27 in the 2017/18 financial year to 31 in 2018/19.

MORE: Could metal detectors at schools stop kids bringing in knives?In August, FoI data showed more than 1,000 children were caught carrying knives across England and Wales last year.

Superintendent Kerry Cutler, from Suffolk police, said: "Suffolk Constabulary has a strong partnership working with Suffolk County Council to engage with young people across the county. Our schools liaison officers and community engagement officers continue to work with partners to deliver effective messaging and information into schools to raise awareness of knife crime.

"We continue to ask parents and carers to talk to their children about the dangers of carrying knives and the terrible impact that knife crime can have on them, their friends, their family and their community.

"We see a small increase in the proportion of young people under the age of 18 being involved in knife crime and while this is a concern for us, it is important to caution against thinking that this is a widespread problem among all young people.

"Likewise we have to be careful not to exaggerate fear of knife crime amongst young people as there is a concern that this can actually contribute to young people carrying knives. The actual number of incidents here remains very small."

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A Department for Education spokesman said: "We know that the majority of schools provide safe environments for pupils and teachers, and it's important that they remain so.

"Education can protect children against the risk of involvement in serious violence. Our new relationships and health education will teach children about positive and safe relationships.

"The Government's Serious Violence Strategy also focuses on steering young people away from knife crime, while we are also investing over £220 million in early intervention projects."

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