Education & Family

Watch for student radicalisation, Michael Gove tells schools

Michael Gove
Image caption In a letter to schools Michael Gove warns of the need to be aware of a range of abuses and neglect

Schools should be aware of signs of radicalisation, sexual exploitation and female genital mutilation among students, Michael Gove has said.

In a letter to the head of every school and college in England, the education secretary warns of the need to be aware of any type of abuse.

The letter highlights new government advice on various types of abuse.

Staff members working with children should always think: "it could happen here", writes Mr Gove.

The letter says the new guidance contains a simple eight page summary which should be read by all school staff "as a minimum".

This section gives information about types of abuse and neglect and where to find information about the signs that a child may be being abused, says the letter.

Updated guidance

It also tells staff how to refer a child about whom they have concerns to the "appropriate agency".

It also directs them to further, detailed information on specific safeguarding matters including female genital mutilation, child sexual exploitation, cyber-bullying and radicalisation.

The updated guidance, published last month, urges all school and college staff to be aware of the signs of abuse and neglect so that they are able to identify cases of children who may be in need of help or protection.

It contains sections on different types of abuse with advice to staff members about which agencies to contact.

The section on radicalisation refers staff to existing guidance called Channel, "a multi-agency approach" in England and Wales to protect vulnerable people at risk from radicalisation.

Under Channel local panels including police, local authorities, schools and colleges work to support the welfare of vulnerable children and adults.

A guide to Channel on the Department for Education website lists signs which may indicate that someone may be becoming radicalised.

These can include changing their style of dress or personal appearance and loss of interest in other friends and activities.

In a specific section on female genital mutilation (FGM) the new advice said all professionals needed to be "alert to the possibility of a girl being at risk of FGM, or already having suffered FGM".

It added that girls at risk of the practice may not know they are in danger.

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