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Kingston headteachers criticised for ignoring FGM email

A campaigner against female genital mutilation (FGM) has criticised Kingston headteachers for failing to read Government advice on combating the practice.

The Department for Education has sent guidance to schools helping to identify girls at risk of the illegal practice, which can include being taken abroad to be cut.   But a Freedom of Information request by the Evening Standard showed 23 of the 53 Kingston heads who received the email did not read the online guidance – and 20 did not even open the message.

Kingston resident Sarbjit Athwal, who campaigns against honour-based violence and forced marriage as well as FGM, said: “I think that’s appalling. Every teacher should be reading the email. “There is no reason for them not to go ahead with it. “The summer holidays are coming. “It is when people tend to think, ‘It’s not our business’, that it gets really bad. Somewhere down the line we could save someone’s life.”

Siobhan Lowe, headteacher at Tolworth Girls’ School, said she was surprised at the figures, but said head teachers at a recent Achieving for Children conference had shown awareness of the issue.

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