WIGAN’S pupils as young as 10 have managed to smuggle in a gun and several knives into school, disturbing new data reveals.
Over the last three years, Greater Manchester Police have confiscated 12 weapons – including one firearm, 10 knives and a pair of sharp scissors, from youngsters aged between 10 and 19 in the borough.
Last year, a 19-year-old student brought in a gun to college and a 12-year-old was caught with a knife.
The firearm offence is still being dealt with, but the school child was punished under restorative justice. The most prolific year was 2012, with five youngsters bringing in offensive weapons to school, including a 10-year-old who was given a caution for possessing a knife.
Schools are particularly vigilant about pupils carrying dangerous weapons following the death of Wigan-born teacher Ann Maguire, 61, who was stabbed in front of pupils at Corpus Christie Catholic College in Leeds last month. A 15-year-old boy has been charged with murder. The boy, who cannot be named because of his age, is to stand trial in November.
Kirston Nelson, assistant director of education at Wigan Council said: “The council takes any incident of pupils taking a weapon into school extremely seriously.
“The safety of all our staff and pupils is of paramount importance.
“Council officers and, where appropriate the police, will work together to look at risk assessment and management of each situation and will assess the most appropriate solution. The child is referred to the Restorative Solutions team comprehensive asset assessment which informs an intervention programme to address the risk factors that may lead to offending behaviour.”
Chief Supt Shaun Donnellan said: “We have school-based officers across the borough who often give talks to pupils about the dangers of carrying weapons, and have the power to search and arrest anyone suspected of doing so.”