CHILDREN as young as 11 have been caught in a Bournemouth primary school with knives, it has been claimed.

It is also alleged that Year 5 children had been vaping at the St James' Church of England Academy School in Pokesdown.

In a statement, headteacher Jeremy Payne confirmed that ‘two incidents’ had taken place.

“Two incidents took place at St James’ Academy earlier this month, and we have taken swift and appropriate disciplinary action with regards to the three students involved, including discussions with Dorset Police,” said Mr Payne.

“Their parents have all been involved in the action taken and have been very supportive. We have strict standards in place regarding which items students may bring to school and we enforce these very carefully. If any parents have concerns I would encourage them to speak to a senior leader at our school about them.”

The Echo was contacted by a worried parent who said a friend had posted about the knife incident on a Facebook page. “Kids as young as ten years old were caught vaping and Year 6 children were caught with knives,” she alleged.

Initially the school did not mention police involvement. However, when the Echo asked for further clarification, St James' admitted police had been involved.

However, Dorset Police said while a report about pupils "in possession of penknives" had been made to them, regarding an incident on October 3, the report of that incident was received at 11.26am yesterday on Monday, October 14.

“It was reported that pupils had exchanged the penknives with each other, there had been no intent to use the knives and no threats were made,” said a spokesman.

“The matter was dealt with internally by the school and the knives were no longer in the pupils’ possession.

“The matter has been referred to Dorset Police’s Safe Schools and Communities Team, which will liaise with the school in relation to raising awareness about knife crime."

Pokesdown’s Conservative councillor, Andy Jones, said he would have been ‘"very surprised" if police had not been informed if a knife incident had taken place.

“Both of those things are obviously of concern and while I don’t know much about either of the incidents, in respect of the knives, I would have expected the police to be involved,” he said.

“I’m very surprised to hear of this and I’d be interested in checking it out with our local Safer Neighbourhood team.”

He stressed that while he was not party to any details: “Normally I would expect something of that seriousness, if knives were involved, the police would be notified.”

St James' is rated as ‘Good’ by the schools’ inspectorate Ofsted.

Inspectors said safeguarding was effective.

“School leaders have created a culture where assessing risk is the norm,” they said.

“For example, leaders carefully monitor the pupils across a public right of way to get to the playground. The personal safety and well-being of pupils are secure.

“The checks undertaken on staff, visitors and recruitment are stringent. Secure processes are in place for monitoring and recording any safeguarding concerns. Staff are trained in how to keep pupils safe from abuse, sexual exploitation, and from the influence of radical or extreme views.

"Staff work sensitively with parents and external agencies to monitor and support any vulnerable pupils.”