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Heads given insufficient training to tackle student radicalisation, experts warn

Headteachers are not being given sufficient training to spot students who are being radicalised by Islamic extremists, according to experts.

Sir Mike Tomlinson, who was appointed education commissioner for Birmingham after the Trojan Horse scandal, has joined school leaders to voice concern that senior staff do not have the tools to protect their students.

The call followed the disappearance of three schoolgirls from Bethnal Green Academy in East London who, it is feared, have travelled to parts of Syria controlled by Islamic State (Isis).

Under new statutory guidance issued by the Home Office, schools are expected to be on the lookout for signs of students being exposed to extremist ideology and to report any concerns that they may have.

Sir Mike questioned how much more schools could do, but said that extra training was needed to help headteachers combat extremist ideologies. “The question of what are the tell-tale signs is difficult to identify, particularly as a lot of it might appear on social media, of which the school may see nothing,” he said. “So it really is a very difficult challenge indeed.

“We have a specific programme in Birmingham but I don’t think there is sufficient training [for all headteachers].”

To read the full story get the 27 February edition of TES on your tablet or phone or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents.

Related stories: 

Nicky Morgan lends support to headteacher of Syria-bound schoolgirls – 25 February 2015

Missing Bethnal Green Academy students 'not radicalised' on school site – 23 February, 2015

Trojan Horse: Gove's 'British values' in schools is a 'knee-jerk' response, critics warn – 10 June, 2014

The TES podcast - What are British values?  6 February, 2015

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