Children of all ages can be vulnerable to radicalisation.
Teenage years are often a time when young people search for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging, and look for adventure and excitement. This can mean that they are particularly vulnerable to extremist groups, who may claim to offer answers as well as identity and a strong social network.
Schools already help safeguard pupils from drug abuse, gangs and sexual exploitation. Just like these threats, radicalisation can have a devastating effect on individuals, families and communities. Protecting pupils from the influence of extremist ideas is therefore an important part of a school’s safeguarding role.
Many extremist groups now make sophisticated use of the internet and social media to target young people and spread their ideology at an unprecedented pace and scale. This has made young people more vulnerable to being influenced by extremist ideas. A number of young British people have been influenced by extremist groups and travelled to Syria or become involved with far-right groups. Women and families are also increasingly being targeted by Daesh recruiters.
As a school leader, it’s important to understand your responsibilities and how you can make sure your school fulfils them. You play a crucial role in making sure your school protects students from radicalisation. By helping your school to foster a strong ethos and values-based education, you can help make sure your students build the resilience and critical-thinking skills to challenge extremism and be prepared for life in modern Britain.