Sadiq Khan will spend £4.7 million to cut school exclusions in a bid to steer young Londoners away from violent crime.

The funding announced today will pay for workshops and training in secondary schools where youth violence is highest.

Youngsters who have been excluded from school in London are twice as likely to carry a knife as their peers, according to Ofsted research.

Nationally, 90 per cent of young people in custody have been suspended – and England’s Children’s Commissioner has branded some schools for excluded pupils “gang grooming grounds”.

But permanent and temporary expulsions are rising both nationally and in London.

Permanent exclusions in the capital have gone up by a third in five years, from 780 in the 2013/14 school year to 1,035 in 2017/18.

Temporary exclusions have seen a similar rise, increasing from 34,960 to 47,832 over five years.

The Mayor’s new funding will pay for summer programmes to help children move from primary to secondary school, as well as workshops on healthy relationships for secondary pupils.

Students will learn to mentor their peers, and teachers will get trauma training to help identify children who are at risk of getting involved in gangs.

The funding will also provide more after-school clubs to keep young people safe in the evening, after City Hall research found 10 to 16 year olds are most at risk of violence straight after school.

The Mayor said: “I have been clear that we have to do everything we can to keep young people in schools.

“The current approach to exclusions simply isn’t working – for teachers or pupils – and this has to change.

“Our hard-working teachers are doing everything they can to keep young people in schools and engaged with their education, but they are struggling because of a lack funding and support from Government.”

But Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita said Mr Khan’s recent policy announcements bore a striking resemblance to her own.

Last week, the Mayor called for a “rethink” of cannabis legalisation – something Ms Benita was already advocating.

She has also pledged to end permanent exclusions in London schools if elected.

Ms Benita said: “There seems to be a bit of a pattern emerging here. In the past few days Sadiq Khan has begun to talk seriously about two of the key issues at the heart of my plan to tackle knife crime and keep young Londoners safe.

“While I welcome these moves, the timing is interesting to say the least as he comes to the end of his disappointing term as mayor.”