Birley Academy in Sheffield closed after boy arrested over 'attempted murder'

  • Emma Wilkinson reports from the scene

A school has been closed for the day after a teenager was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following an attack on a child and two women in their 20s at a school in Sheffield.

The 17-year-old was detained following reports of three people being injured at Birley Academy – formerly Birley Community College – on Wednesday morning.

The school was temporarily placed in "lockdown" following the incident and has since closed.

In a statement, the school said: "This morning we went into lockdown following an incident at the school and have since taken the decision to close the school.

"The safety of students and staff is paramount and all students and staff are safe. Three people were treated for minor injuries at the scene and no one was taken to hospital.

"We would like to praise our staff for their professionalism and our students for the way they responded. We continue to work closely with the police and will update as required.”

Elizabeth Askham, whose daughter attends the school, said the girl contacted her as the incident was unfolding.

She said: "I was getting text messages from my daughter saying 'I've been locked in a room. Mum I'm scared. Someone is screaming outside the room, can I come home?'

"It's been a traumatising day for us."

South Yorkshire Police said officers were called to reports of an incident involving a "sharp object" at the school on Birley Lane at around 8.50am.

In a statement given outside the school, Assistant Chief Constable Dan Thorpe said one of the adult victims was hurt with what is thought to be "broken glass" while the child who was assaulted "thankfully had no visible injuries."

Mr Thorpe said it was a "frightening ordeal for everyone" but praised school staff for their actions which "helped keep the school community safe".

He added: "Birley is a tight-knit community and while the events concluded in a swift arrest it will no doubt cause on-going concern.

"Our officers will remain here for the rest of the day and in the coming days if you are worried and want to discuss what happened don't hesitate to speak to officers."

He also urged the community not to speculate on events surrounding the incident.

Police said they would be at the school throughout the day. Credit: ITV News

'Frightening situation'

In an earlier message to parents, school headteacher Vicky Hall confirmed there had been an "incident" at the school.

She added: "I want to reassure you that all staff and students are safe and well. Emergency services attended immediately and are in attendance. All staff and students are safe.

"I will update you on next steps as soon as I am given guidance from the police. Please do not attend school at the moment."

The incident was mentioned by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during Prime Minister's Questions.

Referring to an incident in London in which a 14-year-old boy died after being attacked on Tuesday, Mr Sunak added: "I know our thoughts are also with those injured this morning in an attack at a school in Sheffield."

Posting on X, education secretary Gillian Keegan said: "I am disturbed to hear about the incident at Birley Academy where a teenager has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder."We're in touch with the school and my thoughts are with those injured and all the school community affected by this frightening situation."

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings said: "Whilst this type of incident is rare it has been extremely concerning for all those involved and the wider school community.

"I have been fully briefed by the chief constable and I would like to thank the police and the school for their swift response. The community can be reassured that police were able to make an arrest at the scene and an individual is in custody."

Birley Academy is a secondary school in the southeast of Sheffield, with around 1,100 pupils.