Michael Gove has agreed to write to all schools in England about female genital mutilation, after a Guardian-backed petition urging the education secretary to take action attracted nearly 250,000 signatures. The education secretary’s pledge was given as he met 17-year-old student Fahma Mohamed, the face of the campaign, and praised her for her “inspirational” work. He agreed to write to primary and secondary headteachers drawing their attention to guidelines around the issue and reminding them of their duty to protect schoolgirls.
Fahma thanked the thousands of people who had put their names to the petition. “I want to thank every single person who signed, without them we would never have got this meeting and Mr Gove would never have agreed to write to all schools. This is a real step to helping us eradicate this issue forever. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders.”
Gove also agreed to consider how FGM education could be delivered in an age-appropriate way in classrooms, and promised to visit Mohamed and members of the youth charity Integrate Bristol at the City Academy Bristol, one of two schools in the country to run an FGM awareness project.
The education secretary said: “I was very pleased to meet Fahma Mohamed today. She has been running an inspirational campaign.”
Speaking in the House of Commons earlier in the day, health minister Jane Ellison, who recently announced plans to record all instances of FGM in hospitals and clinics, praised Mohamed as a “brilliant young woman”.