The government's Prevent strategy aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. While it remains rare for children and young people to become involved in terrorist activity, young people from an early age can be exposed to extremist influences or prejudiced views including those of the Far Right and religious based extremism. It is therefore important that we take a proportionate approach and remain vigilant, although the risk may be low.
Schools have a vital role to play in protecting pupils from the risks of extremism and radicalisation, a role which is underpinned by the legal duty in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 “to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. In addition to this, on 1 September, the Department for Education issued a policy paper outlining how it is tackling extremism through the education and children's services sectors, this can be found here : Preventing extremism in the education and children's services sectors.
It is also important to note that Prevent has been included in Ofsted's framework. The latest framework was updated and published in May 2019 and implemented from September 2019.
You can read full information along with access to guidance and handbooks about the Ofsted Education Inspection.
Keeping children safe from these risks is a safeguarding matter and should be approached in the same way as safeguarding children from other risks.
Coventry Prevent Team has produced a toolkit to support schools in complying with the Prevent Duty. It includes access to resources and information on referrals, alongside a self-assessment checklist for the senior leadership team. Page 5 of the toolkit references a Preventing Extremism and Radicalisation Policy.
Schools may also wish to be aware that as part of the increased support from the DfE, its Due Diligence and Counter Extremism Group (DDCEG) has been expanded and has a dedicated telephone helpline (020 7340 7264) to enable school staff and governors to raise concerns relating to extremism directly and in confidence.
Please note that the helpline is not intended for use in emergency situations, such as a child being at risk of harm or a security incident. In these situations normal safeguarding procedures should be followed.
The purpose of the Educateagainsthate.com website is to provide practical advice and support to help all individuals with an interest in keeping children safe from the dangers of extremism. This site has been created by the Department for Education and the Home Office. The Website holds information for parents, teachers, schools leaders and has links to further guidance and resources.
As children grow and become more independent, it is not unusual for them to take risks, explore new things and push boundaries. Teenage years are often a time when young people will be searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging, as well as looking for adventure and excitement.
This can mean that they are particularly vulnerable to extremist groups, who may claim to offer answers, as well as identity and a strong social network. And because they know young people are vulnerable, extremist groups often target them using the internet and social media to spread their ideology. There have been a number of tragic examples where young people have been misled by extremist groups, with some travelling to Syria and others becoming involved in hate crimes against minority groups