French 14-year-olds are to receive training on how to survive a terrorist attack on their schools, following a spate of Islamist killings in recent months, the Government announced today.
Starting in September, pupils aged 14 and upwards will be taught basic "life-saving" measures. Head teachers will be required to carry out mock attack exercises and to secure "vulnerable areas" of their schools.
"The recent attacks and the context of the terrorist threat means heightened vigilance is required," said a joint statement from the interior and education ministries.
It underlined how schools are a "top priority" target for Isis (Islamic State), which delivered a direct threat last December. The terrorist group's francophone propaganda magazine, Dar al Islam, urged Muslim parents to remove their children from French schools and to kill teachers, who were called "enemies of Allah" for teaching the French principle of secularism.
Each school will now hold three exercises per academic year, covering the "ability of schools to react and not be taken by surprise".
A text messaging alert system will warn pupils, along with a specific alarm different to the one used for fires.
Headteachers have been asked to hold meetings with parents to explain the new security measures.
In January, several Paris secondary schools were evacuated due to bomb threats, although these turned out to be hoaxes.
In March 2012, Mohamed Merah, a jihadist with links to al-Qaeda, killed three children and a teacher outside a Jewish school in south-western France.