UK & World News
1,000 Pupils Caught With Weapons In Schools
Almost 1,000 pupils were caught with weapons including guns, axes and a meat cleaver in schools in the last three years, a Sky News investigation has found.
New figures show 981 children have had weapons confiscated on school premises since 2011.
They include at least 80 primary school children, the youngest of whom was an eight-year-old caught with a knife.
Some 36 pupils were found with an assortment of guns, including two hand guns, seven air-powered weapons and 27 BB guns.
Of those found with weapons, 329 caught with items including an axe, a cut-throat razor and a stun gun were charged with a criminal offence.
One 18-year-old, who is taking part in a young offender's programme in London, said: "I carried a weapon ... but only because of the environment I was in.
"My generation is a bit wild ... so it's a normal thing to carry a weapon because you know everyone else is. It's making it fair, basically."
Campaigners warned the scale of the problem is likely to be much worse, as 21 of the UK's 52 police forces did not supply figures requested under the Freedom of Information Act.
Data from West Midlands Police, which alone recovered weapons from 538 people during the same period, was not included because it also accounts for colleges and universities.
The figures raise questions about whether schools and the Government have failed to tackle the problem.
Jayne Walmsley, whose son Luke was murdered at a Lincolnshire school in 2003 aged 14, said: "Something is happening to the society we live in.
"We need to think and educate these kids. It's got to stop. We've got to do something about it."
Patrick Regan, CEO of charity XLP, which was founded in response to a school stabbing, added: "There's a culture of fear that needs to be broken down."
The Government said it had given teachers powers to take action if they suspect a pupil has brought a weapon into school.
"Teachers can now search pupils without consent, confiscate prohibited items and use force to remove disruptive pupils from the classroom when necessary," a spokesman for the Department for Education said.
"We've also given heads the final say on expulsions by removing the right of appeal panels to put pupils back in the classroom."
However, Chris Douglas, a youth worker with St Giles Trust, which engages with young people caught up in crime, warned the use of weapons is a growing problem.
"We're not hearing about stabbings because they're becoming more common," he said.
Last year, a study by UCL and charity Kids Company found half the young people working with the organisation had seen someone shot or stabbed in their community in the past year.
In 2009, the then-Government announced new measures to curb the problem of weapons in schools after a spate of attacks against children.
There were plans to introduce airport-style metal detectors as part of a violent crime action plan.
But campaigners are concerned the issue has disappeared from public discourse, leaving children vulnerable.
"Sometimes it's a bit like banging your head on a brick wall," Mrs Walmsley said.
"Schools won't admit to the problem because all they want is more pupils for more money."