England: Schoolchildren Given Lessons on ‘Living Knife-Free’ as Youth Violence Soars


Schoolchildren across England will be given hour-long lessons on the dangers of knife crime ahead of the summer holidays amidst a 70 percent spike in youth homicide seen in Sadiq Khan’s London.

Almost 50,000 secondary school teachers have received the Home Office guidance for lessons which aim to “empower” 11- to 16-year-olds to “live knife-free”, according to documents issued by the PSHE Association.

The lessons, which will be rolled out across all English schools as part of the personal, social, health, and economic curriculum, are the government’s first foray into crime prevention classes at schools, where PSHE teaching time is otherwise used to deliver sex education, discuss drug, and alcohol dangers, and promote “social justice”.

As well as challenging myths around knife crime, the lessons will help pupils “evaluate the risks of carrying a knife”, develop strategies for managing knife-related peer pressure and “explore … how young people choose to live knife free and achieve their potential”, according to the literature.

Lesson plans included in the resource pack see children introduced to stories of “role models” who “transformed their lives” by ceasing to carry a knife, then set tasks including to imagine they are one of the characters and write a diary entry on the challenges of “living knife-free”.

Pupils will reportedly also be introduced to slang including ‘cutter’, ‘shank’, and ‘tool’ for knife, ‘feds’ and ‘jakes’ for police, ‘duppied’ and ‘sheffed’ for stabbed, and terms for gang such as ‘mandem’, a word which originates from Caribbean pidgin.

Children’s Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Knife crime has devastating consequences on society and this Government is determined to take action and protect our children, families and communities from it.

“These lesson plans will help illustrate the real impact of knife crime on young people’s lives. It’s heartening to know schools up and down the country are taking advantage of them.”

The guidance says: “It is important that young people are able and confident to identify the risks associated with carrying a knife and feel empowered to live knife-free.

“In line with best practice, the lessons and resources have been carefully designed to minimise feelings of fear, shock or guilt while learning about this potentially sensitive topic.”

Towards the end of 2017 — a year which saw the number of young people stabbed to death rise from 21 to 46 in the capital — London Mayor Khan demanded knife crime safeguarding lessons be made “a priority for all schools”, which he said should be rated by watchdog Ofsted based on the extensiveness of their anti-knife “safeguarding” programmes.

At a community meeting in London earlier this year, locals heard that soaring levels of violent crime in the UK capital, the streets of which have seen around 90 murders take place already this year, have resulted in teenage Hackney residents feeling “too scared to leave the house”.


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