MPs demand reform of school exclusions to combat knife crime
Excluded pupils in the UK are only being taught for a few hours a day, according to a new cross-party report.
The report, entitled "Back to school? Breaking the Link between School Exclusions and Knife Crime", encouraged the government to provide sufficient funding to councils in order to provide education for excluded pupils.
Statistics from the report show that between 2017 and 2018, over 17,500 boys aged 14 in England and Wales carried a knife of weapon of some sort.
One third of these said that they had at some point had a weapon used against them.
A separate statistic set indicated that there had been a 70 per cent increase in school exclusions since 2012, now sitting at 7,900.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Knife Crime disclosed that one third of councils confirmed they had sufficient space for excluded pupils in their referral units.
Pupils are legally entitled to full-time education six days after their exclusion, however, the report indicates that "too often this is not happening".
One excluded pupil stated "since they kicked me out, I've got time on my hands to... commit more crime in Croydon with my friends who have also been kicked out, who are also doing wrong things, who are also selling drugs who are also carrying knives."
Pupils who had been excluded also noted that zero-tolerance policies were partly to blame for their exclusion, citing uniform misdemeanours as one reason pupils were sent home.
Sarah Jones, MP for Croydon Central, and chair of the parliamentary group, stated that "often these children have literally nowhere to go.”
She continued "they are easy pickings for criminal gangs looking to exploit vulnerable children."
However, ministers were quick to point out that "simple causal links between exclusions and knife crime cannot be drawn".