Schools to get power to search for knives

19th November 2004 at 00:00
Headteachers were expected to be given new powers to search pupils suspected of carrying knives in a crackdown on school violence unveiled yesterday.

The announcement by Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary, follows the fatal stabbing of 14-year-old Luke Walmsley in a school corridor last year.

Mr Clarke was also expected to outline plans to limit the number of excluded children headteachers are forced to take.

He was due to announce fast-track procedures to deal with teachers accused of assaulting pupils but the Government was not expected to bow to union pressure to grant full anonymity to accused teachers.

The new search powers were expected to be outlined in a speech to the National College for School Leadership's new heads' conference yesterday.

The changes are likely to receive a mixed reception. Some heads have been pressing for more support in dealing with violence. Others will be concerned that staff will be endangered by confronting an armed pupil.

Heads have proved reluctant to use other delegated powers such as fining truants' parents.

Luke Walmsley's death at Birbeck secondary, Lincolnshire, last November led to renewed calls for tighter security in schools. Unions called for heads to be able to search pupils, instead of waiting for police, and the installation of airport-style metal detectors.

In his speech, Mr Clarke was also expected to require local admissions forums to agree limits on the number of excluded pupils schools are forced to take in any one year. It follows concern that some are not accepting their fair share of expelled pupils.

News 4

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