Who is vulnerable?

Children from all kinds of backgrounds can become radicalised. Here are some of the common factors to look out for that make young people vulnerable to radicalisation.

It’s important to know the factors that make your students more vulnerable to radicalisation. The following is a guide only, so use your professional judgment to assess students’ vulnerability.

  • Struggling with a sense of identity
  • Becoming distanced from their cultural or religious background
  • Questioning their place in society
  • Family issues
  • Experiencing a traumatic event
  • Experiencing racism or discrimination
  • Difficulty in interacting socially and lacking empathy
  • Difficulty in understanding the consequences of their actions
  • Low self-esteem

Any of these issues make children more susceptible to believing that extremists’ claims are the answer to their problems.

External factors play their part too, such as: community tension, events affecting the country or region where they or their parents are from, or having friends or family who have joined extremist groups. Exposure to one-sided points of view all contribute to the process of radicalisation.

Those young people involved with criminal groups, or who have found it difficult to reintegrate after being in prison or a young offender institution, may also be at risk.


A downloadable booklet for school leaders about how to safeguard against extremism in your school, produced by Educate Against Hate.

A link to quickly and anonymously report online material promoting terrorism or extremism. Anyone can report material such as: articles, images, speeches or videos that promote terrorism or encourage violence; content encouraging people to commit acts of terrorism; websites made by terrorist or extremist organisations; and videos of terrorist attacks. All referrals made through this tool go directly to the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit in the Metropolitan police for assessment and investigation. School staff may become aware of inappropriate content through students or through online monitoring software.

The Deliberative Classroom is a project, funded by the Department for Education, to support teachers to lead knowledge based discussions and debates with students on topical issues relating to fundamental British values, citizenship and equality. The combination of written guidance, guided debates and three short films are designed to build teacher confidence in addressing controversial issues in the classroom. They demonstrate how to create a safe space for debating controversial issues, while avoiding polarisation and promoting fundamental British values.

Teaching materials for pupils from year 6 to year 13 for teaching and practising dialogue and encourage critical thinking, plus practical guidance on managing difficult discussions.