Knife crime: Don’t land responsibility on schools, says Ofsted

Responsibility for rising knife crime cannot be “landed on schools in the absence of properly funded local services,” says the head of Ofsted. The BBC reports.

Ms Spielman says that schools do not have the ability to address the complex societal problems that lie behind the rise in knife violence.

“Children who carry knives almost invariably have complex problems that begin long before they are excluded,” the watchdog says.

In a report, Safeguarding children and young people in education from knife crime – lessons from London, Ofsted looks at how more than 100 schools, colleges, and pupil referral units (Prus) in the capital are protecting children from knife violence in school, as well as how they teach pupils to stay safe outside of school.

Ms Spielman says: “Schools simply do not have the ability to counter the deep-seated societal problems behind the rise in knife crime.

“Some schools are valiantly trying to fund school-based early help services or other services that were once provided for free.

“But we cannot allow responsibility for this to be landed on schools in the absence of properly funded local services.”

“Almost invariably, these children have experienced poverty, abuse or neglect or are living within troubled families,” it says.

Ms Spielman also says schools are worried about damaging their reputation if they talk about the issue of knife crime openly.

What does Ofsted recommend?

The report says:

  • schools have very different ways of dealing with knives and teaching children about the risks and head teachers need more guidance about what works

  • schools have inconsistent approaches to involving the police and there is an overall lack of clarity on when this is necessary, meaning children at some schools are more likely to be criminalised for their actions

  • more clarity is needed on “managed moves”, when a child is moved from one school or Pru to another, and the Department for Education should collect data on these, as it does on exclusions.

Read more including comments about Ofsted’s report from the government, Diane Abbott and the NAHT  Knife crime: Don’t land responsibility on schools, says Ofsted

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