Schools are failing to teach pupils about knife crime for fear of 'reputational' damage, Ofsted finds

Posted on: 2019-03-12 10:15:00

In a report, titled “Safeguarding children and young people in education from knife crime: Lessons from London”, Ofsted described how one college had “abandoned the use of knife arches” as they believed it was “detrimental to the students and to the reputation of the college”.

Ofsted inspectors conducted in depth interviews with headteachers at 29 schools in London about their approaches to keeping children safe from violence and gang culture.

Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools, said: "Many school and college leaders we spoke to were trying to educate children about the dangers of knife crime and the risks of grooming and exploitation by gangs.

"However, some are concerned that if they do this they will be seen as a 'problem school', and subsequently avoided by parents."

The report described how some schools were “wary” searching children for knives “in case it sent the wrong message to parents”.

This was “particularly a concern for colleges, which felt that it would make them look less safe than competing schools in their area”, it added.

However, Ofsted said that searches - if done sensitively and without bias - could be successful deterrent for knife crime.

The report also found that gangs are persuading pupils to take knives into school with the sole purpose of “triggering” an expulsion.

Once excluded, a pupil is more likely to drift into gang life without the familiarity and structure of school, it said.

Ms Spielman warned against the “harmful narrative” that exclusions lead children to join gangs and carry knives.  While there was a correlation, there was no evidence for causation, she said.  

Source: Telegraph

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