A boy of 14 who brandished a knife at his teacher and demanded money as 'a joke' has narrowly avoided prison.
The pupil of a Hayes school, who cannot be named for legal reasons, held a Stanley craft knife just inches from his teacher's face, Uxbridge Magistrates' Court heard on Monday.
In a design technology class attended by 20 other pupils on September 25 last year, the teacher asked a female pupil to collect six craft knives. Shortly after, he heard someone say 'give me all your money.'
Alec Williams, prosecuting, said the teacher saw the boy leaning over his desk while holding one of the knives - which had an inch-and-a-half blade with the plastic cover removed - and moving it in a stabbing motion.
The boy, who has no previous convictions, was later arrested and charged.
In a statement, the teacher said: "I didn't think he would steal money from me but I was not sure if he would do anything else, and I was very fright-ened."
Paul Pretty, defending the pupil, said: "He is remorseful for the effect of his behaviour on himself, his family and his teacher, and took the first opportunity to apologise and say the incident was a prank.
"This has had a significant upheaval on both his and his family's lives, as he has been taken out of the school and moved to a new one. He is currently choosing his GCSE subjects and is a very able person. All he wants is to do well in his academic studies."
The boy, who changed his plea to guilty at the last minute, was sentenced to a 12-month referral order, requiring him to meet with advisors from a youth offending team to address the causes of his behaviour and make amends for his crime - possibly in the form of voluntary work.
He was also ordered to pay £750 costs, £150 of which as compensation to the teacher.
Sentencing, District Judge Deborah Wright said: "The offence which you have committed is very serious and, had you been 15 years of age, I would have been likely to give you a custodial sentence.
"You have to realise that what you did was not only stupid but dangerous. Knives kill.
"You may not have intended for this to get out of hand but it could have, and I can only imagine the fear that the teacher may have felt. Your behaviour was disgraceful."