Teachers warned to look out for future terrorists

Trevor Boyd
Trevor Boyd

Teachers have been asked to report their own pupils if they suspect that they are in danger of being radicalised.

Bucks County Council issued a warning to heads, asking for teachers to respond quickly if they ‘have concerns, especially with regards to young people or their friends or family members being persuaded to participate in the conflict or commit acts of terrorism here.’

So far staff from six primary schools have asked for advice over comments made by youngsters in school.

The letter also asks teachers to be vigilant to community tensions in light of the recent child sexual exploitation arrests in Buckinghamshire, and young people across the country leaving their homes to go and fight with Islamic State in Syria.

The letter, which was signed by Trevor Boyd, interim strategic director of children’s services, read: “Transforming a vulnerable person on someone who is susceptible, into someone prepared to commit acts of terrorism or terrorist related activity, is a process which takes place over a period of time, not one which happens overnight.

“With the right interventions, that process can be stopped or even reversed.”

Teachers were also provided with the number for the anti-terrorist hotline and were advised to contact 999 immediately if they noticed any suspicious bags or behaviour at school.

A spokesman for Bucks County Council, said: “A letter was sent to all headteachers by Trevor Boyd on September 19 offering advice concerning the government’s raising of the terrorist threat level due to events in Syria and Iraq.

“The letter was not issued in response to any particular threat in Buckinghamshire, but was simply intended to ensure that headteachers were aware of the procedures that exist should any pupil’s behaviour over this issue become a matter of concern.

“Since the letter was sent, a total of six primary school (out of 196) requested advice and guidance on comments made by pupils triggered by the news emerging from Syria and surrounding territories.

“As well as responding to those specific requests, the county council and the police will, before the end of the year, be jointly delivering two training sessions to primary heads under the government Prevent programme.

“None of the council’s 34 secondary schools have contacted the council further to the September letter.”