Ofsted have published a report looking at the way in which schools, colleges and pupil referral units are safeguarding children and young people from knife crime in London.
Alongside assessment of what educational establishments are already doing to safeguard children and other students on their premises, the report looks at what is being done to give children the knowledge and skills to stay safer in their local communities and also considers how exclusion is being used when children bring knives to school.
From the responses provided by educational leaders, the authors suggest that children are often in three categories of risk of knife-carrying; those that are groomed into gangs for the purpose of criminal exploitation, those that are witnesses or victims of knife crime, or know someone who has carried a knife for protection, and those that carry a knife to school as an isolated incident.
The document makes recommendations in six areas of policy and practice, which the authors suggest will need further consideration from local and central government, as well as school leaders.
These centre on:
- Improving partnership working: including a recommendation for local community safety partnerships to fully involve schools in developing local knife crime strategies.
- Promoting good practice around exclusions: with the report highlighting the need for policies to be challenged if they do not reflect statutory guidance and calling for the Department for Education to collect data from schools on 'managed moves'.
- Coordinating early help and prevention: focusing on the importance of safeguarding partners involving school leaders at a strategic level.
- Improving information-sharing: particularly in relation to the sharing of safeguarding needs when pupils move schools, progress to further education or are excluded.
- Teaching the curriculum: which focuses on developing the role of personal, social, health and economic education curriculum in reflecting local safeguarding issues, including knife crime.