The Prevent strategy, published by the Government in 2011, is part of the nation's overall counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST.
The aim of the Prevent strategy is to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism by stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. In the Act this has simply been expressed as the need to “prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.
So what is the Prevent duty for Schools?
The Prevent duty requires all schools to "have due regard to the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism", under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. The duty covers all types of extremism, whether political, religious or ideological.
What does it mean for North Leamington School?
Our school needs to protect pupils from the risk of radicalisation, as part of its wider safeguarding duties and duty to promote community cohesion.
To do this, the school:
- Promotes the fundamental British values in its curriculum
- Makes sure it's a safe space for pupils to discuss sensitive topics, including terrorism and extremism
- Makes sure it has robust safeguarding procedures to identify children at risk
- Engages with the local authority's (LA's) risk assessment to determine the potential risk of individuals being drawn into terrorism in our local area
- Makes sure it has measures in place to protect pupils from harmful online content, including effective and appropriate filtering systems
- Ensures staff receive training to help them identify pupils at risk, challenge extremist ideas, and how to act if they have a concern
The key Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) have received Prevent awareness training.
The Schools PREVENT duty is embedded within its safeguarding processes.
Some Additional Reading to help understand the process of radicalisation and how this might happen
Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism.
Extremism is defined by the Government in the Prevent Strategy as 'Vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas'.
Extremism is defined by the Crown Prosecution Service as: 'The demonstration of unacceptable behaviour by using any means or medium to express views which:
- Encourage, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs;
- Seek to provoke others to terrorist acts;
- Encourage other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to serious criminal acts; or
- Foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.
There is no such thing as a "typical extremist": those who become involved in extremist actions come from a range of backgrounds and experiences, and most individuals, even those who hold radical views, do not become involved in violent extremist activity.
Students may become susceptible to radicalisation through a range of social, personal and environmental factors. It is known that violent extremists exploit vulnerabilities in individuals to drive a wedge between them and their families and communities. It is vital that school staff are able to recognise those vulnerabilities.
Indicators of vulnerability include:
- Identity Crisis - the student / pupil is distanced from their cultural / religious heritage and experiences discomfort about their place in society;
- Personal Crisis - the student / pupil may be experiencing family tensions; a sense of isolation; and 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;
- Personal Circumstances - migration; local community tensions; and events affecting the student / pupil's country or region of origin may contribute to a sense of grievance that is triggered by personal experience of racism or discrimination or aspects of Government policy;
- Unmet Aspirations - the student / pupil may have perceptions of injustice; a feeling of failure; rejection of civic life;
- Experiences of Criminality - which may include involvement with criminal groups, imprisonment, and poor resettlement / reintegration;
- Special Educational Need - students / pupils may experience difficulties with social interaction, empathy with others, understanding the consequences of their actions and awareness of the motivations of others.
However this list is not exhaustive, nor does it mean that all young people experiencing the above are at risk of radicalisation for the purposes of violent extremism.
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.
Useful information is available to parents on the website called Educate Against Hate. This is mainly about being aware of signs of radicalisation however, there are some useful resources within it regarding internet safety and advice to help parents keep up with their child’s online activity. This link takes you directly to the relevant page https://educateagainsthate.com/parents/