Number of pupils ‘caught with weapons and drugs’ on the up

The number of pupils caught with weapons and drugs at school is rising, according to a new report.

A study carried out for the National Union of Teachers (NUT) found that four times as many teachers found weapons on pupils on a weekly basis in 2008 compared to 2001.

And the Warwick University study also showed that “significantly more” teachers were encountering schoolchildren dealing illegal drugs on campus, with weekly incidents having doubled in the past seven years.

“More teachers encountered offensive weapons more frequently in 2008 compared with 2001,” said the survey of 1,500 teachers by Dr Sean Neill.

The government has stressed the growing safety of the majority of schools with the overall share of teachers who had never found drugs or weapons on pupils having risen.

But the report showed 22.4 per cent of teachers encountered pupils carrying weapons at least once a year, while the study showed that in certain areas, one in ten teachers encountered pupils dealing drugs on a daily or weekly basis.

Steve Sinnott, the NUT’s general secretary, said: “The idea of bringing knives or guns into schools is totally, utterly unacceptable.

“Some youngsters are telling their teachers that the biggest priority in their lives is to feel safe.

“We have got to get this message out: you do not make yourself safe by carrying a weapon, you make yourself more vulnerable.”

The government has stressed that schools are permitted to use metal detectors to ensure pupils are not carrying weapons.