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Survey discovers numerous pupils are involved with knife and drug gangs

27 Aug

I           Survey Findings

In Spring Term 2020 (shortly before the lockdown), The Times carried out a survey of nearly 1,300 mainly secondary schools and academies covering 500,000 (circa) pupils in England and discovered that staff believed that many of them were being “groomed by gangs and exploited by drug dealers”.   They added that a number of these young people were bringing zombie knives, hammers and knuckle-dusters into the classrooms.

About three in five secondaries searched the children at least once weekly with “metal wands and sniffer dogs”. Altogether, 52% of these searches resulted in staff finding pupils carrying weapons. In an academy in Middleborough, teachers searched pupils 60 times in 2018/19 and found six weapons. About 24% of these institutions referred pupils to the police and/or social services in the 2018/19 academic year and 33% believed that the pupils were involved with gangs.

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Is the exclusion of pupils adding to knife crime?

18 Apr

I        The school/academy dilemma

Children’s welfare is of paramount importance to schools and academies.   Happiness and safety are the twin conditions required to promote their growth mentally, physically, morally and spiritually – enabling them to develop and flourish during the compulsory stage of their education. They keep them grounded for the rest of their lives.   Were a school/academy to be wanting by Ofsted in its safeguarding arrangements it is peremptorily placed in special measures.  This does not negate the requirement that a school/academy is expected to demonstrate that its pupils are achieving.

Regarding the last requirement, schools and academies are caught between a rock and a hard place. It is imperative that governors, headteachers and staff give children every opportunity to succeed – but at what cost?   In a number of egregious cases schools/academies are “off-rolling” the “problematic children to twinkle in the firmament of academic achievement”.  Funding difficulties heighten the dilemma for them, making it that much more daunting to educate problematic children in the same classrooms as the better-behaved ones, disrupting their education too.

The evidence is stark: in the Autumn Term of Year 11, several “turned off” youngsters are excluded – often permanently – so that they will not bring their schools/academies shame by doing badly in their GCSEs.

And when that happens, there are drug gangs out there ready to capitalise on these “turned off” youngsters who feel education’s “discarded” outsiders, causing their lives to spiral downwards.   To defend themselves and/or prove they are macho (most of them are boys), they resort to knife crime.

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