Anyone can be vulnerable to extremism and radicalisation, but children are particularly at risk. As they grow and become more independent, it is not unusual for them to take risks, explore new things and push boundaries. Teenage years are often a time when young people will be searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging, as well as looking for adventure and excitement. Extremist groups know young people are vulnerable and may claim to offer them answers, identity and a strong social network, and using the internet and social media to spread their ideology.
Schools have a part to play in keeping children safe from extremism and radicalisation. At our academy, this includes identifying any vulnerable people and safeguarding them from being drawn into terrorist activity. Referrals are made to the police where necessary for a preliminary assessment. This could lead to a multi-agency panel to support a vulnerable person and ensure their welfare. This works in a similar way to supporting individuals who may be at risk from drugs, knife or gun crime, or getting involved in gangs.