SCHOOLCHILDREN are at risk of being radicalised and drawn into criminal activities by extremists, the Government warned yesterday.
Teachers are being urged to help stamp out the problem by winning the 'hearts and minds' of youngsters from an early age.
They must do more to tackle the threat of violent extremism such as by drafting in British-born imams to teach citizenship lessons.
The proposals form part of new guidance that will be published next week to ensure local authorities and police work more closely with schools.
They come in the wake of last week's Exeter restaurant bombing, which police suspect was the work of a British-educated convert to Islam.
On July 7, 2005, London was also attacked by home-grown terrorists including a teaching assistant.
Children, Schools and Families Secretary Ed Balls told the Times Educational Supplement that a 'tiny minority do seek to radicalise young people with an ideology advocating division, hatred and violence, and justifies criminal activity'.
This is one of the 'complex issues' that teachers have to deal with and is 'perhaps one of the most difficult'.
He said: 'Unfortunately, we have to recognise that a very small number of school children may already be at risk of being drawn into criminal activity inspired by extremists.
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