Nearly 1000 pupils had weapons taken off them at a school over the last three years, including one eight year old found carrying a knife.

Figures obtained by Sky News reveal a total of 981 children had weapons such as guns, axes, meat cleavers and wooden planks with nails confiscated on school premises since 2011.

The investigation revealed 80 of the children caught with a weapon were primary school pupils, the youngest being an eight-year-old who brought a knife into a school in Scotland.

Some 36 of these children were found with guns, including two handguns, seven air rifles, 27 BB guns and a Taser stun gun.

The figures show that since 2011, 329 pupils have been charged for carrying a weapon in school.

Worryingly, the true figure of how many weapons are being confiscated from children may be higher. Out of the 52 police forces in the UK, only 21 responded to Freedom of Information (FoI) requests from Sky.

Figures from West Midlands Police alone – whose numbers included both school and university students – reveal 500 weapons were confiscated in the same period.

Campaigners feel the issue of weapons in schools is being ignored as incidents are occurring more frequently.

Chris Douglas, a youth worker with St Giles Trust, who helps young people caught up in crime, said: "I think we are not hearing about stabbings because they are becoming more common. It's happening weekly in our society. But it's becoming such a common topic that it's not a surprise any more, it's not a shock."

In 2009, the government set out plans to install airport-style metal detectors in some schools to tackle the problem.

These proposals were never met, but the government issued more powers to search pupils if they suspect them of carrying a weapon.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: "Teachers can now search pupils without consent, confiscate prohibited items and use force to remove disruptive pupils from the classroom when necessary,"

"We've also given heads the final say on expulsions by removing the right of appeal panels to put pupils back in the classroom."