MPs examine links between school exclusions and knife crime

28th March 2019

On Wednesday, the House of Commons Education Committee held a one-day inquiry into the link between the rise in school exclusions and the increase in knife crime.

Will Linden from the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit told MPs that the Edinburgh Youth Transition Study found that exclusion was one of the most significant predictors of crime and anti-social behaviour.

Additionally, Linden noted that Scotland has experienced a dramatic drop in exclusions and a reduction in knife crime. For example, he said Glasgow had lowered its permanent exclusion number from in the hundreds to just one last year with no exclusions so far this year.

Nurture approaches have previously been praised for their role in this achievement, being described as “a substantial part of a success story in education in the city which can point to a clear reduction in pupil exclusions, an increase in attendance and a dramatic improvement in Glasgow establishments’ capacity to hold on to the most vulnerable young people.”

Linden also said that schools could not be expected to bear all the burden when it came to tackling knife crime, but that keeping children in mainstream schools rather than support units or alternative provision was important.

Nurtureuk knows that early in-school interventions, such as nurture groups and whole-school approaches, to emotional and mental health can reduce exclusions. Given the evidence MPs heard about the links between exclusions and knife crime, these measures could be an important part of the government’s efforts to tackle the problem.