Boy seriously ill after gang's knife attack at school

A 14-year-old boy was seriously ill in hospital last night after he was attacked at school with a large knife, possibly a machete. The youth was set upon by a gang of about the same age - one white boy and four of oriental appearance - outside the gates at Kidbrooke School in Eltham, south-east London. He suffered head injuries and was taken to the Royal London Hospital in east London where his condition was serious but stable.

Tricia Jaffe, the head teacher, said the boy's attackers were not pupils at the school and it was not known who they were. A police spokesman said they would carry out searches and door-to-door inquiries today. Earlier yesterday, a teacher at King Edward VII school in Sheffield was threatened with a silver pistol when he asked three youths who were not pupils at the school to leave. The head teacher, Michael Lewis, said: "Like many schools, we have pleaded repeatedly with the council and the Government for resources to improve school security but up till now we have received kind words but no cash."

The incidents were the latest in a string of worrying attacks at schools, including the murder of the London headmaster Philip Lawrence last year.

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