Russell Hobby warns heads cannot be expected to be ‘counter-terror experts’

The BBC is reporting warnings from Russell Hobby that head teachers cannot be expected to be “counter-terrorism experts” or “conduct surveillance” on young people…

…Mr Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said that schools would respond to any information they received, but would need the support of other agencies, if young people vulnerable to extremism were to be identified and intercepted.

He was responding to warnings from a senior prosecutor, Nazir Afzal, that some schools feared the Easter holidays would be used as a time for radicalised pupils to try to join the conflict in Syria…

Head teachers’ leader Mr Hobby said that where there was evidence of extremism or plans to travel to Syria heads would act, but there were limits to what could be expected of schools.

“Schools’ duty of protection involves educating people well and sharing what information they do have with other agencies.

“Beyond that, they need clear guidance and somewhere to turn to for help. We cannot reasonably expect schools to perform police functions.”


This goes back to the suggestion yesterday that heads may be reluctant to approach the police for fear of criminalising students.

Should there be a different body they can approach for help, or, with the stakes so high, if they have any suspicions should they report them to the police regardless?

Please let us know what you think needs to happen in these circumstances…


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