More than 300 violent incidents were reported at Wigan schools in three years
Hundreds of violent incidents have been reported at Wigan schools in the last three years – including people being threatened with knives, sexual offences and racist attacks.
Pupils, teachers and parents have all been victims of crimes. More than 300 incidents were recorded between 2016 and 2018, according data revealed in a Freedom of Information request.
In one case, during a school trip, a pupil threatened to take a member of staff “into the woods” and said: “I could slit your throat.”
The following day, a headteacher checked the student with a metal detector and found a 5ins blade.
Other pupils have threatened to use guns. One warned they would shoot another student after school.
Another threatened to shoot someone before turning the gun on themselves, though they never followed through.
Police have also dealt with threats of rape and reports of sexual assault at more than one school, along with explicit pictures being sent between pupils via Snapchat.
Children have used racial slurs before attacking their peers. Some have also been been racially abused by passers-by. Two primary schools received letters opposing school trips to mosques and teaching about Islam, and criticising Muslim councillors.
Greater Manchester Police confirmed it was alerted to the incident involving a blade.
The force said it was working with staff and pupils to tackle knife crime in schools through schemes such Operation Sceptre.
Insp Clare Anderson said: “Officers work hard to continually educate the general public on knife crime and the risks associated to challenge behaviours.
“GMP work with schools across the borough to help ensure crime is reducing, and continue to give residents the confidence to report crimes too. Additional funding has been issued across all districts which have enabled more intense level of targeting and educational programmes, and increased community support.
“We would like to reassure the public that the force continually work to target this type of crime and offer educational interventions where possible.”
Information via a Freedom of Information request revealed 336 incidents of violence; sexual offences; public order offences; possession of weapons; and criminal damage between 2016 and 2018.
Three Towers Alternative Provision Academy called police 28 times – the highest in the borough.
Head teacher Anne Isherwood said the school, as a pupil referral unit, was responsible for taking on children with challenging behaviour from elsewhere.
“These pupils come with a history, and we’ve got to manage them,” she added.
“Some of that managing takes a little time, and, by and large, the children like having that fresh start.
“However, we call on the police when pupils are in crisis, and quite often these involve circumstances outside of the school, or mental health issues.”
Cambian Tyldesley School, another school catering for children with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs, had the second highest number of call-outs – 20.
The third highest, with 18, was Newbridge Learning Community, another SEMH school.
A spokesman for the Cambian schools group said bosses were working with staff and children to reduce the number of incidents.
Cath Pealing, assistant director for education at Wigan council, said on behalf of Newbridge Learning Community and other SEMH schools: “Students at these schools are among some of our more vulnerable children that at times may require additional intervention from other services to support the school.
“Our schools are very strong in understanding the background and circumstances of individual children and will only call the police where it is absolutely necessary.”