I and many other education leaders were very disappointed to hear you speak on BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning about knife crime. There is undoubtedly a problem we need to solve. It is a socially complex problem that requires a sophisticated policy response from a number of people and agencies working together.
It is truly disappointing that you have chosen to point the finger at schools, and in particular academies. Bringing state education into disrepute helps no-one – least of all those vulnerable young people. A blame culture will not solve the problem of knife crime. Nor will unevidenced assertions about the link between exclusions and knife crime.
I am sure you are aware that the schools’ inspectorate, Ofsted, has said there is no convincing evidence that exclusions in and of themselves lead to knife crime.
There is a need to talk about provision for those most vulnerable to crime, gangs and knives, as part of a responsible policy response. The Confederation of School Trusts, where I am chief executive, would like to invite you and the eight police commissioners who wrote to the Department for Education to a summit with education leaders to discuss the issue of high-quality provision and partnership solutions.
I will shortly be writing to you with the details of this summit. I hope you and the police commissioners will accept this invitation in the spirit of partnership – working together to find the right policy solutions for this complex issue, in the public interest.
Leora Cruddas is the Chief Executive of the Confederation of School Trusts (CST), the sector body for academy and multi-academy trusts. She tweets @LeoraCruddas