Almost 40 new schools are to be built for troubled children as part of the Government’s response to the knife crime epidemic. The Telegraph reports.
Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary, will announce today that 3,500 extra school places will be created, many of which will go to pupils who have been expelled from mainstream schools.
Almost a quarter of children caught carrying knives have been expelled or suspended from school, and knife offenders are four times as likely to have special educational needs as other children.
In 2016/17, the latest year for which figures are available, 7,720 children were expelled from school and 381,000 were suspended.
Two of the schools will cater solely for children who have been expelled and have no other school willing to take them. Both of the so-called alternative provision schools will be in the West Midlands, the region with the third-highest level of knife crime in the country.
All of the schools will be paid for out of a £250 million fund for high needs schools announced last December, and all are expected to be open by 2021.
Every region of the country will be given at least one of the new schools, with the highest number of places created in Yorkshire and the Humber – which is second only to London for its knife crime rate – and the South West, both of which will have 500 extra school places. Official figures show knife crime is rising four times as fast outside London as it is in the capital.
There are already 34 special and 42 alternative provision (AP) free schools across England, with another 54 special and 12 AP schools already in the pipeline.
It means that by 2021 there will be 125 special free schools and 56 AP schools.
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