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    Knife crime; safeguarding young people

    Do you know that the rate of knife attacks in some regional towns and cities is higher than in many London boroughs? Do you know that Ofsted has carried out research on knife crime in schools and colleges? Are you aware that Ofsted have made a series of recommendations for schools and colleges?

    In October 2019, the BBC reported on their analysis of police figures, which showed that the rate of knife attacks in some regional towns and cities is higher than in many London boroughs. Overall, London remains the most dangerous part of England and Wales - but data shows the rate of serious knife crime offences rising sharply in some areas outside London, and outstripping some of the city's boroughs in places like the city of Manchester, Slough, Liverpool and Blackpool.

    "We are suffering just as much as anywhere else," said Byron Highton whose brother Jon-Jo was 18 when he was stabbed to death with a sword and an axe as he walked home in Preston. "The whole country is suffering from knife crime, but small cities in the north like Preston get no mention."

    It's not just young men who are affected. In Blackpool, students Keeley, 17, and Lauren, 18, have both been threatened on the estate where they live, with knives brandished in relatively trivial teenage disagreements.

    "I got threatened with a machete in a park by a group of lads when I was playing football," Keeley said. "They wanted to play in our half, but we said no."

    Lauren says she doesn't feel safe in the town: "Me and my mate were walking home and a guy came out and threatened to stab one of my mates."

    In 2018, the resort had 14.3 serious knife crime offences per 10,000 people, putting it in the top 25 most dangerous places for knife crime in England and Wales.

    Ofsted has carried out research on knife crime in schools and colleges. This was based on survey responses from more than 100 secondary schools, colleges and PRUs. They also undertook 28 in-depth interviews with school, college and PRU leaders and focus groups with young people and the parents of young people who have been victims and/or perpetrators of knife crime. The inspectorate consulted an expert panel made up of academics, charitable organisations, headteachers, parents, youth workers and ex-gang members.

    Although the research took place in London and focussed primarily on schools, some of the findings and recommendations of the research impact on colleges in London and across the country. For example:

    Recommendation 6: Schools and colleges should share full information with one another when pupils and learners move schools, pupil referral units or alternative provision or move to further education, to safeguard them and other pupils and learners.

    You can download the report here

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