Councillors Back Anti-Knives Policy

18 November 2016, 05:23

A strategy against weapons and knives in school, created following the death of a 16-year-old pupil who was stabbed to death, has been approved by councillors.

Bailey Gwynne died after he was stabbed at Cults Academy in Aberdeen on October 28 last year.

His killer, a 16-year-old youth who cannot be named for legal reasons, was locked up for nine years in April after a jury found him guilty of culpable homicide and carrying weapons.

An independent review into the incident, which published its findings last month, concluded the fatal stabbing might have been avoided if teachers had been alerted that the killer carried weapons.

The multi-agency probe into the stabbing made a series of recommendations, including calling on the Scottish Government to consider changing the law to give teachers more power to search pupils.

Aberdeen City Council began developing an anti-weapon/knife crime strategy in autumn 2015 and it has since been aligned with the recommendations of the independent review.

The strategy, which councillors approved today, outlines a range of actions.

They include providing clarity to school staff on the protocol of notifying and recording incidents relating to weapons including knives, pupil searches and confiscation of weapons/knives, anti-bullying recommendations and the complaints policy.

Other actions include providing professional learning opportunities to teachers in order that they can deliver anti-weapon/knife crime lessons.

Gayle Gorman, director of education and children's services, Aberdeen City Council, said: "The report before committee today outlined and demonstrated Aberdeen City Council and our partners clear commitment to implement the recommendations of the review - and indeed to go further to ensure that our children, young people, families, communities and staff are as informed as they can be regarding the tragic and devastating consequences of carrying weapons.

"I know that no strategy or indeed case review will alter the fact that Bailey is no longer with us and that his loss is keenly felt by all who knew and loved him.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff - both centrally involved - and especially those at Cults Academy - Mrs (Anna) Muirhead and her team - in the care and support they offered all pupils - and for their ongoing support for those children and families most impacted upon by the loss of Bailey.

"As always my thoughts are with Bailey's family.''

Aberdeen City Council said that work towards the implementation phase is already under way.

It said that partnership working will continue both with local organisations and the Northern Alliance, which includes Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Highland, Moray, Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles Councils.