Tackling Extremism and Radicalisation

Following on from the issues in Birmingham, Ofsted are looking carefully at how schools are safeguarding children from extremism and radicalisation.

This is important for all schools, for example, a catholic school in Bury St Edmunds was challenged by Ofsted about how it was tackling extremism, although the report was later withdrawn. (see ‘Catholic school breaches ‘Trojan Horse’ Ofsted rules’)

Birmingham Model Safeguarding Policy

The new model policy from the Birmingham Local Safeguarding Children Board contains useful material in Appendix 4 ‘Indicators of vulnerability to radicalistion’ and Appendix 5 ‘Preventing Violent Extremism’.

Indicators of vulnerability include:


  • the student/pupil is distanced from their cultural /religious heritage and experiences;
  • discomfort about their place in society;
  • personal Crisis – the student/pupil may be experiencing family tensions;
  • a sense of isolation;
  • low self-esteem;
  • they may have dissociated from their existing friendship group and become involved with a new and different group of friends;
  • they may be searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging.

Personal Circumstances

  • migration;
  • local community tensions; and
  • events affecting the student/pupil’s country or region of origin may contribute to a sense of grievance that is triggered by personal experience of racism or discrimination or aspects of Government policy

Unmet Aspirations

  • the student/pupil may have perceptions of injustice;
  • a feeling of failure;
  • rejection of civic life;

Experiences of Criminality

  • involvement with criminal groups
  • imprisonment; and
  • poor resettlement/reintegration on release

Special Educational Needs

  • social interaction
  • empathy with others
  • understanding the consequences of their actions; and
    awareness of the motivations of others

More critical risk factors could include:

  • being in contact with extremist recruiters;
  • accessing violent extremist websites, especially those with a social networking element;
  • possessing or accessing violent extremist literature;
  • using extremist narratives and a global ideology to explain personal disadvantage;
  • justifying the use of violence to solve societal issues;
  • joining or seeking to join extremist organisations; and
  • significant changes to appearance and/or behaviour;
  • experiencing a high level of social isolation, resulting in issues of identity crisis and/or personal crisis.

Download: Birmingham Model Safeguarding Policy

Link: Birmingham Local Safeguarding Children Board

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