August 1966, United States: A student at the University of Texas in Austin killed 14 people and wounded 31 others in a shooting rampage from the observation deck of the university's 32-storey administrative building. Charles Joseph, 25, was eventually shot and killed by police. An autopsy revealed he had a highly cancerous brain tumour.

January 1979, United States: Brenda Spencer was 16 when she went to the school opposite her house and began shooting at pupils and staff with a gun she had been given by her father for Christmas. The principal and the head custodian were killed, and eight children and a police officer were wounded in the six-hour siege. When asked why she had done it, she is reported to have said: "I don't like Mondays". She is currently serving life imprisonment in California.

December 1989, Canada: The École Polytechnique massacre in Quebec left 14 women dead and another 14 injured. Marc Lépine, 25, armed with a legally obtained semi-automatic rifle, a hunting knife and claiming to be "fighting feminism", moved through the college specifically targeting women to shoot. In less than 20 minutes, he shot 28 people, killing 14 women, before turning the gun on himself. The incident led to more stringent gun control laws in Canada.

March 1996, Scotland: An unemployed former Scout leader opened fire at Dunblane primary school, killing 16 children and one teacher before committing suicide. Thomas Hamilton walked into the school and made his way to the gymnasium where he began shooting a class of five and six year olds, killing all but one of them. He then made his way around the school, injuring a further eleven children and three adults.

March 1997, Yemen: Hundreds of pupils at the Sanaa school in Sanaa came under a hail of bullets from Mohammad Ahman al-Naziri, 48, who fired on the school with an assault rifle. He killed six pupils and two teachers. He was sentenced to death the next day and executed.

April 1999, United States: The schoolboys Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold embarked on a shooting spree at Columbine high school in Denver, killing 12 students and a teacher, as well as wounding 23 others, before both committing suicide. The massacre provoked huge debate regarding gun control laws in the US.

April 2002, Germany: Wearing a mask and dressed as a ninja, 19-year-old expelled student Robert Steinhäuser shot and killed 16 people at the Johann Gutenberg gymnasium in Erfurt. Thirteen teachers, two students and one police officer were killed and another seven people were injured, as he moved from classroom to classroom. His last words before his suicide were: "That's enough for today", said to a teacher who confronted him.

October 2006, United States: A one-room schoolhouse in the Amish community of Nickel Mines in Pennsylvania became the target of the gunman Charles Carl Roberts. He ordered the boys to leave before barricading himself in the school with the female pupils. He lined them up in front of the blackboard, killing five and injuring seven. The schoolhouse was knocked down after the killings.

April 2007, United States: Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded many more at the Virginia Tech college in Blacksburg, Virginia, in two separate incidents on the same day. Cho had been diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder. A review of the killings criticised the college for failing to take action after the first reports of the shooting, which might have reduced the number of casualties.

November 2007: Pekka-Eric Auvinen, an 18-year-old student, opened fire at his school in Tuusula, killing eight people. Among the dead were a number of pupils and a teacher at the Jokela high school. On the morning of the incident, Auvinen posted a video on YouTube announcing the massacre at the school.

September 2008, Finland: A student killed nine people after opening fire at a vocational school in Kauhajoki, north-west Finland. According to local reports, the gunman was carrying an automatic weapon and wearing a ski mask as he entered the school. He turned the gun on himself and was severely injured by a gunshot wound to the head.