Spotting the changes in your pupils: key signs to be alert to in your classroom

Spotting the changes in your pupils: key signs to be alert to in your classroom

Posted on Jan 10, 2016

When you see someone every day it can be easy to miss those little changes.



We can become almost oblivious to new haircuts and new shoes. But what if you started missing something else? Things like the terrorist information Robert is downloading from the internet; Sophie needing the toilet five times as much as the rest of the class.  What about those little bruises on the back of Jenny’s knees?

It’s hard to spot the difference between what’s normal and what’s a concern. But now, as you haven’t seen your pupils for a couple of weeks, you may see things with a fresh pair of eyes.

Now the first week back is over, take a moment to stop and reflect.  Did anyone seem different this week compared to the end of the autumn term? Did anyone seem upset, not their usual selves?


Let’s look at the key signs to be alert to in your classroom.



Those of you working in schools and higher education institutions have a legal duty to have;

‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’.

To do that it’s important you know what it is and what the signs are.


Read more here:


What is radicalisation? Why do I need to know? What is radicalisation? Why do I need to know?

What are the signs of radicalisation? What are the signs of radicalisation?

What does the Prevent duty expect from you as a teacher? What does the Prevent duty expect from you as a teacher?


Female Genital Mutilation:

In a large class it can be difficult to pick up on signs of an individual at risk of FGM, but as it is happening in the UK, particularly in the cities with larger migrant communities e.g. London, Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham etc. FGM is also typically carried out in school holidays – so right now it’s more important than ever to stay vigilant and look for the signs that FGM may have taken place.

It’s your legal obligation to report if you think FGM has taken place as well as reporting the signs that it’s about to.


Possible warning signs of FGM about to take place:


  • Mention of a female relative coming to visit
  • Becoming easily distressed, fearful or anxious
  • Discussing a ‘special procedure/ceremony’
  • Referencing FGM (or its alternative names) you can find a list of these names within our FGM course.
  • Family making preparations to take the pupil abroad ‘on holiday’ or requesting a prolonged absence from school.


Possible warning signs of FGM has taken place:


  • Long absence from school/college and a noticeable change in behaviour on return
  • Avoidance of classes such as PE or sports because of bladder, menstrual or abdominal problems
  • Difficulty sitting, standing or walking
  • Complaining of a pain between their legs, or about something that happened but they cannot speak about
  • Spending a long time in the bathroom due to difficulties urinating
  • Asking for help, but not being explicit regarding the problem due to fear or embarrassment

We will be looking at what FGM is, the reasons behind it and what the consequences of it are in the next following weeks.


Child abuse:

There are four types of child abuse; physical, emotional, neglect and sexual.

There are behaviours typical of a child who has been/is being physically, emotionally, neglectfully or sexually abused, and they are;

  • Anxiety or depression
  • Self-harming
  • Thoughts about suicide
  • Obsessive behaviours
  • Aggression
  • Soiled clothing
  • Eating disorders or changes in eating habits
  • Sleeping trouble, nightmares or bed-wetting
  • Risky behaviour, including drugs and alcohol
  • Absence from school
  • Withdrawal or clinginess


To find out more about child protection training why not try flick’s level 2 child protection training today? Just click here.


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