Police figures have revealed that hundreds of children have been caught with drugs at school, including cannabis, cocaine and even heroin.
The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that there have been more than 2,000 drug incidents on school premises over the last four years.
Four incidents involved children under the age of eleven, and one included an eight-year-old child.
The figures were obtained from information provided by 34 police forces across England and Wales.
Cannabis was involved in 625 incidents, while 27 cases were of children being caught with cocaine.
Other types of drugs listed included LSD, amphetamines and ecstasy and seven instances of heroin possession on school premises.
The incidents involving children under the age of eleven included an eight-year-old and a nine-year-old who were each caught with cannabis.
Chris Keates, the General Secretary of teacher’s union NASUWT, described the evidence as “worrying”.
He added: “Teachers and school leaders are always alert to the potential for young people being involved in drug or alcohol abuse.”
Camila Batmanghelidjh, of the charity Kids Company, has warned that drug use is becoming “normalised” for children who witness substance abuse at home.
She said: “What we’re seeing now is that eight and nine-year-olds are beginning to smoke weed and skunk and they go on to harder stuff.
Last year, a council in Scotland faced heavy criticism after producing a booklet which advises children as young as 13 how to take drugs ‘safely’.
Drugs ‘destroy people
Edinburgh Council and the city’s Drug and Alcohol Project produced the booklet which offers young people advice on how to take drugs like cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy.
Agnes Morrison, of anti-drugs charity the Maxie Richards Foundation, said she did not see why “anybody would put out a leaflet telling teenagers the safe way to take drugs”.
She warned that there is “no safe way to take drugs” and said that drugs “destroy people”.