Ofsted is to review its approach to knife crime in schools following an intervention from the mayor of London.
Mike Sheridan, Ofsted’s regional director for London, confirmed the watchdog would undertake a “thematic report” to analyse how best to tackle what is a growing problem in the capital’s schools.
Sadiq Khan wants to treat knife crime prevention as a safeguarding standard, and judge schools on how well they are keeping their pupils safe from violence.
Khan also wants schools to have mandatory plans in place to deal with students carrying blades, and to provide support in the event of an attack.
Sheridan said Ofsted was “determined” to support schools and colleges in protecting children from knife crime, and helping them make positive lifestyle choices.
“This is why we have agreed to undertake a thematic report to bring together the best academic research in preventing youth violence along with the strongest practice we see on inspection in London,” he said.
However, Ofsted insisted it is “too early to say” whether the review will lead to a change in the way it inspects schools.
It is due to be published next year.
According to the Evening Standard, Khan described knife crime in the capital as an “epidemic”, and said schools were afraid to tackle the problem in case it damaged their reputations.
“One of the things we have seen is that there are some schools that are nervous about talking about knife issues and safety issues in their schools because they are worried about being stigmatised or labelled as an unsafe school,” he said.
“What is clear is that safeguarding should be a priority for all schools, keeping young people safe should be a priority for all schools. “e want to make sure all schools are teaching children about the dangers of carrying a knife.”
He said one of the ways to tackle the issue was to encourage Ofsted to look into whether school were doing “all they can to keep people safe in particular in relation to knife crime”.
So far this year 65 people have died as a result of knife crime in London. Around half of the victims were under 25.