Britain’s Education Secretary Michael Gove has issued guidance for teachers telling them to watch for signs of radicalisation among their students. The updated guidance for school heads also tells them to look out for girls at risk of female genital mutilation and sexual grooming.
He wrote: “The guidance reiterates that staff working with children should always think ‘it could happen here’ where safeguarding is concerned.”
The guidance, issued by the Home Office, states: “[This] is about protecting people from radicalisation into all forms of terrorism, but the most significant threat to this country is from al-Qaeda affiliated, influenced and associated groups and many . . . referrals will therefore relate to this threat. However, the principles set out in this section apply equally to other terrorist groups.”
The Times of London reports that the guidance also includes a link to separate Home Office advice on how to detect people at risk of being drawn into terrorism. This includes looking out for them changing their appearance and style, losing interest in activities and becoming increasingly interested in material related to extremist causes.
The document also tells teachers to look out for people using derogatory terms for other groups and even demonstrating a “technical expertise” in areas such as chemicals and survival skills.
Separate guidance from the Department for Education also tells teachers how to spot children at risk of sexual exploitation. It says that such exploitation can take various forms, but will always involve the child receiving some sort of reward, such as money, gifts or even basic things such as food and shelter, in exchange for sex.
“Sexual exploitation can take many forms ranging from the seemingly ‘consensual’ relationship where sex is exchanged for affection or gifts, to serious organised crime by gangs and groups,” the advice says.
The advice comes as scrutiny intensifies on Birmingham schools that have allegedly been infiltrated by hard line Islamists. The plot, called nick-named Operation Trojan Horse, involves Islamist extremists taking over secular state schools by getting elected to the board of governors, undermining non-Muslim teachers and influencing the appointment of new staff.
Last weekend, the National Association of Head Teachers confirmed that it had found “concerted efforts” to infiltrate Birmingham schools and warned that there could be “connections” in other UK cities.