School inspectors are to question headteachers on their efforts to combat female genital mutilation (FGM), as part of a government attempt to ensure public bodies live up to their responsibilities to protect children from the practice.

Ofsted officials will demand proof that schools have "safeguarding policies" which deal with FGM, including training their staff to identify "at risk" pupils and inform the police if they believe girls are in danger of being taken abroad to undergo the agonising procedure.

Proposals to introduce a specific question on FGM into the standard school inspection procedure were agreed at the Home Office last week, during a "round-table" debate about ways of stamping out the practice. The debate took place amid growing fears that thousands of British schoolgirls are taken back to their parents' home countries every year to be forcibly mutilated.

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