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Weapons in East Lancs classrooms shock
MORE than half of all incidents of weapons being taken into schools in East Lancashire have taken place in just three schools.
However, headteachers have stressed that all of the incidents have been minor, and there was no serious risk to pupils or staff.
A total of thirteen offensive weapons have been taken into local high schools by pupils over the past five years, according to figures released by Lancashire Police under a Freedom of Information request.
Haslingden High School recorded three incidents, as did Ridgewood Community High School in Burnley, while two incidents were recorded at Witton Park High School in Blackburn.
Mark Jackson, headteacher at Haslingden High School, said: "Plucking isolated incidents from police records over the past five years does not give any accurate sense of day-to-day life in a school like ours.
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“The first took place in 2009, well before I was appointed headteacher, and was appropriately dealt with at the time. The second relates to a vulnerable pupil who needed support and never intended harm to anyone. Fortunately, it's extremely rare that we have to deal with anything of this kind."
But Union representatives in East Lancashire have expressed their concern over the findings. Simon Jones from the NUT said: “It’s a tremendous worry for our members, it’s a big worry for their safety and the safety of other pupils.
“Teachers have always been conscious of the risk. I think it’s something that requires a shared responsibility – schools, the police, and indeed families.”
And Claire Ward, from the NASUWT, agreed that a pattern of incidents in one school does give cause for concern.
She said: “It’s very rare, but it does happen, and you have to be on your guard.
At Witton Park one child was caught with a knife three years ago, and two years ago another brought a stun gun into school.
A knife and a baseball bat were taken into Haslingden High four years ago, and last year another knife was taken into the school.
At Ridgewood a child was reprimanded for possessing a stanley knife two years ago, and this year two students have also been caught with knives at the school. nAt Rhydding Business and Enterprise School is Oswaldtwistle a student was caught with a cut throat razor last year, and at St Thomas Centre in Blackburn, a pupil was last year charged for taking a knife into school.
Further offences occurred at Accrington Academy, where a pupil took a knife into school in two years ago, Colne Primet High School where a child carried a rounders bat three years ago, and Belmont High School in Rossendale, where four years ago a student was caught with a knife.
Dean Logan, Head Teacher at Witton Park Academy said: “This is a safe school, no one has been threatened or hurt with a weapon.
“We have the highest expectations of students for achievement and behaviour."
And Fran Entwistle, headteacher at Ridgewood Community High, said: “Our school received an 'Outstanding' rating for behaviour and safety in our last Ofsted inspection a year ago and I'm pleased to say that reflects the reality of everyday life at Ridgewood.”