The aim of this guidance is to ensure we are all aware of the ‘Prevent Strategy’ and our key responsibilities in trying to ensure we protect our young people who may be in danger of being radicalised.
This document is to be read in conjunction with our safeguarding policy and the government publications ‘Working together to Safeguard Children’ March 2015 and ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ July 2015. These policies are kept in paper form by the Headteacher’s PA.
Many of the principles of these guidance documents and the annual ‘Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent’ delivered by the police remain:
- be vigilant;
- accurately and un-emotively record any concerns in writing (school staff should complete a ‘Logging a Concern’ form) and pass to the safeguarding team;
- do not promise confidentiality or ‘lead’ when questioning.
If you consider a child is possibly going to be radicalised or at risk of radicalisation, a risk assessment will be drawn up and an individual action plan put into place.
- What is Extremism?
Extremist organisations can develop and popularise ideas which create an environment conducive to violent extremism and terrorism.
“In assessing the drivers of and pathways to radicalisation, the line between extremism and terrorism is often blurred. Terrorist groups of all kinds very often draw upon ideologies which have been developed, disseminated and popularised by extremist organisations that appear to be non-violent (such as groups which neither use violence nor specifically and openly endorse its use by others)”.
“Terrorist groups can take up and exploit ideas which have been developed and sometimes popularised by extremist organisations which operate legally in this country. This has significant implications for the scope of our Prevent strategy. Evidence also suggests that some (but by no means all) of those who have been radicalised in the UK had previously participated in extremist organisations”. [Prevent Strategy 5.34]
- Vulnerability to Radicalisation or Extreme Point of View
The school recognises its duty to protect our students from indoctrination into any form of extreme ideology which may lead to the harm of self or others. This is particularly important because of the open access to electronic information through the internet. The school aims to safeguard young people through educating them on the appropriate use of social media and the dangers of downloading and sharing inappropriate material which is illegal under the Counter-Terrorism Act. The school vets all visitors carefully and will take firm action if any individual or group is perceived to be attempting to influence members of our school community, either physically or electronically. Our definition of radical or extreme ideology is ‘a set of ideas which could justify vilification or violence against individuals, groups or self.’ Staff are trained to be vigilant for spotting signs of extremist views and behaviours and to always report anything which may suggest a student is expressing opinions which may cause concern. Our core mission of diversity permeates all we do. We place a strong emphasis on the common values that all communities share such as self-respect, tolerance and the sanctity of life. We work hard to broaden our students’ experience, to prepare them for life and work in contemporary Britain. We teach them to respect and value the diversity around them as well as understanding how to make safe, well-considered decisions.
- Why is it Important for CWLC to Discuss Extremism?
Education can be a powerful tool equipping young people with the knowledge, skills and reflex to think for themselves and to challenge and debate. It gives young people the opportunity to learn about different cultures and faiths and to gain an understanding of the values we share. Exploring ideas, developing a sense of identity and forming views are a normal part of growing up.
Schools can support young people in this by providing a safe environment for discussing controversial issues and helping young people understand how they can influence and participate in decision-making. We need to encourage young people to express their views but also to appreciate the impact their views can have on others, to take responsibility for their actions and to understand that the use of violence to further any cause is criminal. “We believe that schools of all kinds can play a role in enabling young people to explore issues like terrorism and the wider use of violence in a considered and informed way. According to a survey by the UK Youth Parliament in August 2008, 94% of young people said they thought schools were the best environment in which to discuss terrorism. Schools can facilitate understanding of wider issues within the context of learning about the values on which our society is founded and our system of democratic government. These are important for reasons which go far beyond Prevent but they connect to the Prevent agenda”. (Prevent Strategy)
We also need to recognise that, young people can be exposed to extremist influences or prejudiced views, particularly those via the internet and other social media. “Schools can help to protect children from extremist and violent views in the same ways that they help to safeguard children from drugs, gang violence or alcohol. Schools’ work on Prevent needs to be seen in this context. The purpose must be to protect children from harm and to ensure that they are taught in a way that is consistent with the law and our values. Awareness of Prevent and the risks it is intended to address are both vital. Staff can help to identify and to refer to the relevant agencies, children whose behaviour suggests that they are being drawn into terrorism or extremism”. (Prevent Strategy)
Schools working with other local partners, families and communities, can help support students who may be vulnerable as part of their safeguarding responsibilities.
- Benefits for CWLC
A key value that underpins our ethos is that we promote open, respectful debate with tolerance of all at the core of what we do.
- It will support our young people in critically thinking about topical, potentially difficult issues.
- It will help you to fulfil the duty on publicly funded schools to promote community cohesion.
- The resources support the national curriculum.
- There is advice and suggestions for school leaders on how to adopt a whole school approach.
Extremism affects individuals and communities and can be a catalyst for alienation and disaffection, potentially leading to violence. There is a need to empower learners to come together, with their families and the wider community, to expose extremism to critical scrutiny and reject violence and intolerance in whatever forms they take and whether it be from animal rights activists, ecological protesters, Al Qaida-influenced groups, Irish republican terrorists, racist and fascist organisations or far-right extremist groups.
Publicly funded schools remain under a duty to promote community cohesion. Schools can give learners the opportunity to learn about different cultures and faiths and to debate shared values, so as to enable them to become involved in decision-making about important and real issues.
So the tasks facing schools and colleges are to:
- raise awareness;
- provide information;
- enable learners to make a positive contribution;
- safeguard young people.
Values and leadership strategies underpin the ethos of the school and play a positive role model in preventing extremism. These should be developed, understood and shared by leaders at all levels in the school; governors, the senior leadership team and all staff and then made explicit to students, parents and the community served by the school.
- Indicators of Vulnerability
- the student is distanced from their cultural /religious heritage and experiences;
- discomfort about their place in society;
- personal crisis – the student may be experiencing family tensions;
- a sense of isolation;
- low self-esteem;
- they may have dissociated from their existing friendship group and become involved with a new and different group of friends;
- they may be searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging.
- local community tensions;
- events affecting the student’s country or region of origin may contribute to a sense of grievance that is triggered by personal experience of racism, discrimination or aspects of government policy.
- the student may have perceptions of injustice;
- a feeling of failure;
- rejection of civic life;
Experiences of Criminality
- involvement with criminal groups;
- poor resettlement/reintegration on release.
Special Educational Needs
- social interaction;
- empathy with others;
- understanding the consequences of their actions;
- awareness of the motivations of others.
More critical risk factors could include:
- being in contact with extremist recruiters;
- accessing violent extremist websites, especially those with a social networking element;
- possessing or accessing violent extremist literature;
- using extremist narratives and a global ideology to explain personal disadvantage;
- justifying the use of violence to solve societal issues;
- joining or seeking to join extremist organisations;
- significant changes to appearance and/or behaviour;
- experiencing a high level of social isolation, resulting in issues of identity crisis and/or personal crisis.
- How Social Media is Used to Encourage Travel to Syria and Iraq
Please see the briefing note for schools produced by the Home Office for the Department for Education, by clicking here.
- Tackling Extremism in the UK
Please see the document published by HM Government, by clicking here.
Useful Contact Numbers
- The Police (non-emergency number) 101
- Crimestoppers 0800 555 111
- Anti-Terrorism Hotline 0800 789 321
- Channel / Prevent Contact – Local Authority 01905 766475
- Channel / Prevent Contact – West Mercia Police 01386 591835 or 01386 591825
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org