Teachers are being told by Michael Gove to look out for signs of radicalisation, female genital mutilation, sexual exploitation and other forms of abuse in their pupils.
The education secretary has written to all schools in England today to warn them to be on the alert and draw their attention to new statutory guidance on ‘Keeping children safe in education’.
“The guidance reiterates that staff members working with children should always think 'it could happen here' where safeguarding is concerned,” Mr Gove’s letter says.
The document also tells teachers and other school staff where to refer any child safety concerns they have.
It contains 50 pages of updated guidance and replaces a 129 page document published in 2006. But the new advice also contains links to existing more detailed advice on a range of issues.
One on ‘Protecting vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism’ warns that “the most significant threat to this country is from Al Qa'ida affiliated, influenced and associated groups".
It suggests a number of indicators that a pupil is involved with an extremist group or cause, such as changing how they dress, or their appearance, losing interest in friends or activities not associated with a particular ideology and behaviour focused on an extreme idea or cause.
Other signs to look out for include “possession of material or symbols associated with an extremist cause (e.g. the swastika for far right groups)”.