In 2011/12, 17,520 pupils were suspended or expelled for physically attacking adults in schools and significant numbers of pupils are caught each year carrying weapons. A Sky News investigation found these weapons included guns, a meat cleaver, axes and a cut-throat razor.
What protection is there for teachers and other adults in schools?
Labour introduced powers to allow teachers to search pupils for prohibited items but many are reluctant to apply them probably because of the abuse they would receive. There is now talk of airport style metal detectors in schools to try and catch those who try to take weapons into the buildings.
The problem is not a new phenomena. In 1985 a deputy head was attacked at a school I taught in. He was called to one of the toilet blocks to deal with two pupils there. When he arrived they attacked him with a meat cleaver, striking him on the head. Although the teacher did not die, he never fully recovered and it took a number of years before the school got over the stigma of the incident.
Yesterday was a sad day for schools in Britain as it marked the first time that a teacher was killed in the classroom.