Parents who are worried their children could run away to join Islamic State are to get advice from a new government website. Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, is launching a series of measures to keep children safe from “the spell of twisted ideologies”.
In a speech on Tuesday at the Bethnal Green Academy, which was attended by three girls who ran away to Syria, the senior Conservative will say she is expanding plans under Ofsted’s crackdown on unregistered illegal schools.
She will also consider allowing local councils to register and start tracking young people who are missing from school due to fears they could be open to radicalisation. This could cover youngsters who are currently home schooled.
The website offering advice to parents and teachers is called Educate Against Hate, which will provide guidance drawn up by the government and charities including the NSPCC and Childnet.
“We are determined to keep children safe in and out of school. Today’s announcement of resources and tougher powers to protect young, impressionable minds from radical views sends a clear message to extremists: our children are firmly out of your reach,” she said.
“And by improving intelligence on where children go when they deregister from schools, we will help prevent future incidents of young, promising children falling under the spell of twisted ideologies.”
The measures add to those announced by David Cameron at the Conservative party conference to crackdown on Britain’s madrasas. At the event in October, he alleged some pupils were taught not to mix with children from other religions, were beaten, and fed conspiracy theories about Jewish people.
Last month, it was revealed that schools are be told to set filters and monitor pupils’ internet access amid growing concerns that some youngsters are at risk of being targeted by extremist groups, and a number of high-profile cases involving schoolchildren travelling, or attempting to travel, to Syria.
Ministers said that in some cases, young people had been able to access information about Isis, otherwise known as Daesh, and foreign fighters through school computers.
Morgan has also announced that she had asked Ofsted to prepare cases for prosecution against three unregistered schools in Birmingham.
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