School reassures families after knife incident

December 21 2018

POLICE have been on duty at Downend School after a boy posed outside the gates with a knife.

Video of the incident, which involved a boy with no connection to the school, was sent to the BBC and was widely shared online, even featuring on the front page of a national newspaper.

But the school has moved to reassure parents that swift action was taken and the safety of young people at the school is “paramount”.

Police have interviewed a 12-year-old boy in connection with the incident. They say their enquiries are ongoing.

The incident on November 30 was filmed on mobile phones and shared on social media before a parent saw it and sent it to the BBC.

Reports that the boy with the long-bladed knife was disarmed by Downend School pupils have not been officially confirmed.

In a letter to parents, head teacher Lisa Howell said staff on duty had “acted swiftly” to deal with the incident.

She said: “A knife was secured by duty staff, the police were called and the knife and details of the incident have been passed to investigating officers who assure us that appropriate and robust action is being taken.

“The young person has no connection with the school and we expect no further issues.

“A small number of students were involved or witnessed the incident. We have spoken with all of these young people and their parents.”

Mrs Howell said staff had been briefed and had checked to see if any pupils had concerns over the incident.

She added: “We have further increased the number of staff on duty at the beginning and end of the day and have asked police to assist with this in order to provide a reassuring presence."

Teachers had spoken to pupils about the importance of telling someone about concerns over people carrying knives, and police beat officers and PCSOs who already have informal drop-in sessions at the school will be holding an extended clinic as a result of the incident, said Mrs Howell.

“The topic of knife crime is already part of our planned PSHCE curriculum and we will bring these lessons forward.” 

An Avon and Somerset police spokesman said: “A 12-year-old boy attended Patchway Police Centre on December 6, where he was interviewed in relation to an offence of possessing a bladed article. Enquiries with witnesses are ongoing and the investigating officers are liaising with the Youth Offending Team in order that an appropriate and proportionate outcome is reached.”

Parents with concerns about the incident are being advised to email Mrs Howell via

Information about knife crime can be passed on anonymously using the website, which also provides advice.