After a spate of knife related deaths to teenagers and young adults recently, an enquiry into a report on rising schools exclusions suggested that there is a correlation between rising numbers of exclusions and rising numbers of knife crime offences.
The enquiry discussed the common components that link the lives of children who get excluded from school and children who become involved with knife crime, with almost a quarter of children who said they had possessed a knife in the previous year had been expelled or suspended from school.
Research carried out by the Home Office also found that children in pupil referral units were being targeted by drug gangs.
However the report stipulates that this alone “does not tell us that school exclusion in itself is causing knife crime”, with other contributing factors playing a role, such as “child poverty, mental ill health issues and a rising number of children considered to be in need by local authority social services”.
Additionally, the ministry of justice says “roughly 50% of children who were excluded, had already committed a crime”, suggesting that at least some of pupils could have been excluded due to possessing a knife, rather than the exclusion causing knife related incidents.
Ofsted support this in stating “children who carry knives almost invariably have complex problems that begin long before they are excluded”. It is not the case either that any one of the risk factors identified will inevitably lead to a child becoming involved in crime, serious violence on actual school grounds is “extremely rare”.
The bigger issue is why are students resorting to carrying a knife in the first place and where are the services to help?
Rather than scape-goading schools with even more accountability and blame for student behaviour, there needs to be an in depth review into larger societal issues that are affecting it.
Teachers are seeing the issues first hand, with children coming to school hungry, sleepy, angry, upset and in some cases having serious mental health issues. Forcing additional roles upon them, that they aren’t trained or qualified for, as well as conducting their primary role…educating.
Amanda Spielman says: "Schools simply do not have the ability to counter the deep-seated societal problems behind the rise in knife crime”.
Mental health, child poverty, austerity, parenting decisions, the declining numbers of police officers, and the disrespect for authority need to be dealt with by properly funded local services, not schools.
Further investigation into knife crime links policing numbers to the rise in incidents…