Knife carrying at 'epidemic' levels in UK schools

Knife carrying at 'epidemic' levels in UK schools

Knife carrying in schools has hit an epidemic level, UK ministers have been warned.

Labour MP Sarah Jones warned the Government that cuts to school budgets were "threatening child safety", as she revealed knife carrying among pupils was up 42%.

The Croydon Central MP, speaking during education questions, said: "Carrying in schools across the UK is up 42% and yet in my constituency in Croydon and I expect across the country at least three quarters of headteachers have had to cut staff, special needs provision and support mentoring which are all crucial in preventing crime.

"Now that this epidemic has infiltrated our schools, will he admit that school cuts are threatening our children's safety?"

Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi told MPs that his department was working with the Home Office, police and Ofsted to update our school security guidance.

He added: "The department is committed to making schools as safe as we possibly can, that is why we are working closely with the Home Office to reinforce the important message that it is totally unacceptable to bring knives into school."

Later in the question session Labour MP Vicky Foxcroft (Lewisham, Deptford) called for mental health nurses to be in every school to help address this issue.

She said: "Youth violence is up, mental health issues among young people is up, yet the number of qualified nurses is down.

"The evidence shows this can be part of addressing the root causes of youth violence, can we have qualified school nurses in every school as one step to tackling this issue?"

Mr Zahawi responded: "We are making further investment in mental health in schools to make sure every school is able to deal with the issue in a way that is appropriate."

- PA

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