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Fears over Aberdeen schools’ knife strategy seven years after Bailey Gwynne’s death

Bailey Gwynne was murdered at Cults Academy.
Bailey Gwynne was killed at Cults Academy.

Concerns have been raised about Aberdeen City Council’s schools knife strategy, seven years after the tragic death of Bailey Gwynne.

A council report said annual checks should take place to make sure every pupil in Aberdeen signs an anti-weapons agreement.

The contracts were introduced in 2017 in the wake of Bailey Gwynne‘s death at Cults Academy in October 2015.

Auditors said that while schools across Aberdeen were committed to the policy there was “no single record that demonstrates this.”

The document said having a record that the requirements of the policy were being met by schools would “strengthen the council’s position” by showing “all reasonable steps” had been taken in the event of an incident.

Bailey Gwynne died after being stabbed in the heart at Cults Academy in 2015.
Bailey Gwynne died after being stabbed in the heart at Cults Academy in 2015.

Call for regular checks

The report said that school bosses would know if schools were sticking by the rules by checking pupil records annually.

It said: “While schools are committed to complying with the Anti-Weapon Policy, there is no single record that demonstrates this.

“Management assurance over schools’ compliance with the anti-weapon policy could be greater if a check of SEEMiS [an education information management system used by all local authorities in Scotland] records was undertaken on an annual basis.

“In the event of a weapons incident, a single record of policy compliance would strengthen the council’s position by evidencing that school and pupil security is suitably prioritised, and that all reasonable steps have been taken to prevent the carrying of weapons in schools.”

Chief education officer Eleanor Sheppard.
Chief education officer Eleanor Sheppard.

Bosses back recommendations

Aberdeen City Council have said they agree with the findings of the report.

The document said the policy change would be introduced from October this year with the responsibility for that falling to chief education officer Eleanor Sheppard.

A group of auditors looked at the anti-weapon strategy and concluded the issues were “significant.”

Aberdeen City Council’s anti-weapon policy provides staff with guidance on who they should involve, how to react and what actions to take in the event of an incident.

It said that the focus is “on prevention” and to “build a culture for young people which signals the unacceptability of carrying weapons.”

The city council’s audit, risk and scrutiny committee will discuss the report when they meet on Thursday.

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