Schools should stay open during evenings and weekends to tackle knife crime

September 25, 2019

Sir Dan Moynihan, chief executive of the Harris Federation, a multi-academy trust that runs 46 schools in and around London, described the end of the school day as a “flashpoint” for violence.“You tend to get youths and other individuals coming to schools at the end of the day with various intentions and that can create a  flashpoint,” he said. “In the past it was always the time children were most likely to be mugged or get into disputes. Now obviously there is a new twist, as it is also a peak time for stabbings.”Most school leaders at Harris academies patrol outside their schools aat the beginning and end of the day to act as a deterrent for any potential trouble makers.    There has also been a sharp rise in the number of police-recorded knife crime offences since 2013, across every force area.  Schools should stay open during evenings and weekends to tackle knife crime, the Children’s Commissioner has said.Anne Longfield said that in areas which experience high levels of violence should be placed in “emergency measures”.Speaking at the education select committee, she said that when it comes to tackling knife crime, there is a lot of discussion, but a lack of “urgency” when it comes to actually taking action.“I think we should almost be on emergency measures in the areas of high violence,” she told MPs. “I would like to see schools staying open in the evenings and opening at weekends. I would like there to be youth workers who are proactively in schools talking to the kids at risk.”Ms Longfield added that for efforts should be stepped up to protect vulnerable children by having family workers “knocking on their doors and talking to their siblings”.Her comments follow calls from trauma doctors for schools to stagger leaving times to reduce the risk of violence.Pupils making their way to and from school can become targets for gangs and drug dealers so need extra protection at these hours, the head of one of London’s biggest academy chains has said.    Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.

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