Birmingham schools use virtual reality to tackle knife crime

Schools in Birmingham are using virtual reality (VR) to teach children about the impact of knife crime.

Pupils across the city have been immersed into a life-like scenario and tasked with making decisions as a situation escalates.

The experience, called Virtual_Decisions: Knives, is set in the city and uses interactive narratives.

It was created by Round Midnight, an educational tech company.

Figures published last year showed there were 380 people under the age of 18 arrested for knife crime offences in 2021.

That was double the number five years earlier.


In the 12 months leading up to May 2022, 836 children under the age of 16 were also victims of knife crime in the region.

The VR experience has been delivered to more than 15,000 children aged 11 to 14, and is aimed at challenging perceptions about the impact of knife crime on individuals and their communities.

Adam Ahmed
Adam Ahmed stars in the film and delivers a workshop to pupils where he shares his experiences

As part of the workshop, Adam Ahmed describes how a close family member nearly died after being stabbed in the chest eight years ago.

He said: “A lot of young people that commit certain offences, they are not criminals, they are just responding to a situation where they are scared.”

The programme has now won the Innovation Award at The Education Awards 2023.The company has also received support and recognition from the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, the Home Office and Meta.Claire Downes, director of Round Midnight, said: “We are passionate about using technology and creativity to engage young people in meaningful learning experiences that can change their lives for the better.”