Security review after stabbing

7th November 2003 at 00:00
MPs are planning an inquiry into school security following the fatal stabbing of Luke Walmsley on Tuesday. The Commons education select committee will examine whether existing guidelines for dealing with violent situations meet the needs of staff and pupils.

Their pledge came as Luke's headteacher, Gary Loveridge, spoke of the "nightmare which has descended upon us with one moment of violent madness".

Teachers' leaders also called for the working group on school security - set up in 1996 following the stabbing of London head Phillip Lawrence - to meet urgently to discuss the matter.

Police were interviewing a 15-year-old boy in connection with the incident at Birkbeck school, in North Somercotes, Lincolnshire, as The TES went to press.

Barry Sheerman, chairman of the education select committee, will raise the issue of school security at a private meeting of MPs on Monday.

"I am not a knee-jerk politician but I will get on to it straight away and evaluate the situation," he said. "We have the capacity as a committee to move very quickly on these matters."

Mr Sheerman, who was speaking to The TES during an educational visit to India, added: "I am absolutely shocked that this should have happened at an English school. It is a terrible tragedy."

Though fatalities of this kind are rare, there have been several serious knife woundings in schools already this year.

Under the Offensive Weapons Act 1996 it is an offence to carry weapons, including knives, around school premises.

The Department for Education and Skills said it would look at suggestions for improving security put forward by teaching unions.

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