A six-year-old north London boy was among 1,000 youngsters caught taking knives into school last year, a new report has revealed.
Hundreds of children were caught taking blades onto school premises, figures show, with the youngest aged just four.
Weapons seized by police included machetes, hunting knives, a samurai sword and even a highlighter pen which had its nib changed to a blade.
Figures obtained by 5 News under Freedom of Information laws show a total of 1,144 knife possession offences in schools, where the suspect was a child, were recorded in England, Scotland and Wales last year.
The number of offences more than doubled over the past five years, among the 36 forces in England and Wales that provided comparable data, soaring from 372 in 2014 to 968 last year.
Former teacher David Simmons, who set up the Changing Lives charity, said he was confronted by a six-year-old brandishing a knife while working in a north London school.
“He was threatening other staff members and saying that he was going to stab them so I’ve gone over trying to calm this child down,” he said. “He’s then said he’s going to stab me and kill me.
“At that age you just wouldn’t have thought that a six-year-old should be doing that. Why were they doing that?”
Dyfed-Powys Police were called to one school in Wales by teachers concerned that a four-year-old had a knife.
In Manchester, an 11-year-old, who had replaced a highlighter nib with a blade, told another pupil: “Listen to me or else I’ll stab you.”
Steven George, from the National Association of Headteachers, said referring a child to the police isn’t always the best option, adding: “What you’re trying to do is find a solution for that child.
“Their family, circumstances, the neighbourhood they live in, the people they hang around with are all going to be factors and those aren’t solved with a phone call to the police.
“We know that schools are being asked to do more than ever before on a wide range of issues that extend beyond the school gates. If the figures continue to grow then that is a problem that schools definitely cannot tackle alone.”