FOUR pupils have been expelled from a school after being found with a knife.
The Year seven pupils, aged 11 or 12-years-old, were excluded from Mount Carmel RC High School in Accrington after teachers discovered one of them had brought a pen knife onto school grounds.
Bosses at the National Union of Teachers have backed the move and said 'it was important schools take robust action'.
Headteacher Xavier Bowers described it as an 'isolated incident' and said the school had a zero tolerance approach to anyone caught carrying knives.
The incident comes as national figures showed almost 3,000 weapons, including 500 knives, were seized from schools across the country last year.
Police also warned there was a 'worrying' increase in the number of young people carrying knives.
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Mr Bowers said: "Clearly there is an issue nationally. There have been national headlines about knives being brought onto school sites.
"We have taken action and have a zero tolerance approach.
"We have excluded four boys this year. For us it is an isolated incident but I am aware that nationally there has been a significant increase."
He said one boy brought in a pen knife, while three others were involved in carrying it at various stages.
"They said it was for protection but there were no legitimate grounds for that," he said.
"It was not used and was not used to threaten other children.
"It was reported very early on and we dealt with it."
The incident in March was also reported to police.
Paul Trickett, headteacher at Rhyddings Business and Enterprise School in Oswaldtwistle, said he had also excluded one pupil in the past year for bringing a knife onto school grounds.
He said: "As ever we always take one child at a time when looking at punishment.
"I will always give a fixed term exclusion, while I consider a permanent exclusion. We do not take these things lightly."
Mr Bowers said there are all sorts of things that come into play when it comes to children carrying knives including the influence of gaming, an element of gang culture and social media.
He said the school was working closely with the police and was in discussions about running a series of assemblies to inform children of the dangers.
Andy O'Brien, principal of Accrington Academy, who is also working alongside the senior leadership team at Norden High School in Rishton until a new headteacher is appointed, said he was not aware of any similar incidents.
He said: "We have a zero tolerance approach to anybody that would harm or put anybody else at risk."
Simon Jones, Lancashire representative for the National Union of Teachers, said: "It is important not to overestimate the scale of the problem.
"It is not something we hear about a lot fortunately.
"Where it does happen it is important schools take robust action."
A police spokeswoman said they were notified of the incident at Mount Carmel.
She said: "We work alongside schools to educate young people about the dangers of carrying knives.
"Just by carrying a knife you could end up in court.
"It is illegal to carry a knife, even if it belongs to somebody else and if you are caught you will be arrested.
"Anyone who is carrying a knife and is intending to use it as a weapon, even in self-defence, can be arrested, go to court and receive a police record or even a prison sentence."
Figures revealed by the police via a Freedom of Information request last year showed eight pupils were found with knives in schools across Lancashire.
The latest figures released by 32 police forces showed there were 2,579 weapons found from the 2015/16 financial year to this year including 500 knives.
Police urged anyone with information about people carrying knives to call them on 101.