Knife crime is a stain on our society. It is a sickening concern for young people, their families and entire communities. In recent times, it seems like not a day goes by without heart-wrenching headlines telling of yet another young life, tragically taken too soon. I, like many others, simply cannot sit by without trying to help.
This is why we commissioned a survey to look at how schools in the capital are safeguarding pupils against the threat of knife crime on their premises, and how pupils are being educated on the dangers of carrying a weapon.
Schools, colleges and others who work with young people have an absolutely vital role to play in protecting children from knife crime and helping them keep themselves safe from the risks it poses. And Ofsted is determined to support this important work.
As part of this work, we are asking all headteachers of maintained secondaries and academies, pupil referral units and some principals of further education colleges in London to respond to a questionnaire about their experience of knife crime and related issues. We are sending the link directly to around 700 schools, pupil referral units and FE colleges.
Their responses will help inform our research. The information they share will not be used to make judgements about individual schools. We are not looking to catch anyone out. We want to understand what teachers and leaders are doing to protect their young people from knife crime, so that we can learn from it and help other schools and colleges in developing their own strategies.
Schools can give information to us anonymously if they wish, but they also have the option to identify themselves and even take part in focused visits, which will help to further our understanding of this issue. We will also be carrying out focus groups with parents of children who have been affected by knife crime.
This isn’t just a London issue – we hope the findings of our report will be of benefit to schools and school leaders in other parts of the country too.
The survey is live until 19th May. I urge all schools and colleges contacted to participate, so that we can gather as much useful information as possible.