Protecting Children from Extremism (‘Prevent’)
Schools have a duty to their children to develop them as good citizens who can recognise, resist and repudiate extremism.
DFE advice on Spiritual, Moral, Cultural and Social development (November 2014) affirms that “pupils must be encouraged to regard people of all faiths, races and cultures with respect and tolerance.” This is part of an obligation to meet the requirements of s78 of the Education Act 2002, and schools are “inspected and assessed on their measures to protect their pupils from extremist material” (Tackling Extremism in the UK).
What is extremism?
The Prevent Duty Guidance in England and Wales 2015 defines extremism 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.”
What is expected of schools?
Schools are expected to fulfil their ‘Prevent’ duties in three ways:
- By teaching the four values values explicitly, and by exemplifying them within the school community and the way it functions;
- By being aware of signs that members of the school community may be vulnerable to becoming led to support terrorism and extremist ideologies;
- By responding appropriately if children show indications that they are vulnerable or at risk.
What do we do at Newby?
Points 2 and 3 above are addressed primarily through training and vigilance.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) has had training in:
Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent (WRAP); Radicalisation and Preventing Extremism; Compliance with the Prevent Duty; Channel Awareness Module.
She is the Single Point of Contact for ‘Prevent’ concerns.
All staff have received training from the DSL, including the Channel General Awareness Module. In future, ‘Prevent’ awareness will form an integral part of safeguarding induction for new staff members.
The school practises Safer Recruitment and has in place Codes of Conduct for staff behaviour. All staff and pupils have to sign Acceptable Use policies to be able to use ICT equipment.
Robust eSafety monitoring in school screens the usage of the internet and social media for sites and terms that could relate to extremist material.
Our attendance policy aims to stop parents taking children out of school, and potentially out of the country, during term time. If we learn that parents still intend to travel, we do our utmost to verify intentions and travel plans.
It is recognised that Governors are a vital component of the school’s ‘Prevent’ role, and that their understanding of the purpose and nature of work to safeguard against extremism is integral to maintaining strong, positive and trusting bonds between school and community. In the event of any uncertainty about how to respond to a concern about vulnerability, school staff would, where possible, discuss the principles with the link Governor(s) responsible for safeguarding. This would of course maintain confidentiality and no names would be given.
Point 1 above is addressed in many areas of school life and policy.
Democracy is exemplified for the younger children through things such as class votes. Older pupils learn about democratic institutions such as Parliament – see SMSC curriculum planning. There is a strong School Council, in which pupils stand for election and make their own speeches. There are other consultations and votes, such as for school meals or the Gulzareen Shahzad Community Award.
Respect for the rule of law is supported by the school’s own codes of conduct and the high standards expected. Older children learn about the courts and workings of the justice system. We work with the police, particularly community liaison.
Individual liberty is valued through the recognition of different points of view and interests, and an approach to behaviour based on understanding the importance and effects of the choices we make as individuals. It is important to us that children are confident to discuss issues and that staff are confident to manage potentially sensitive or challenging conversations. Avoiding difficult subjects does not address them, and misses opportunities to correct misunderstandings.
Mutual respect and tolerance are key to the ethos of the school; indeed, Ofsted inspectors in 2017 observed that “ Celebration assemblies recognise individual achievements and create a real sense of pride and belonging.” This runs from everyday interactions through to assemblies, religious education and the ways in which conflicts are resolved.
There are also many life-skills and attributes taught by school that contribute towards children staying safe. These include:
- the ability to think critically and discuss (Talk for Learning);
- an understanding of eSafety and the need to be careful when online or using social media.
The sense of being part of a larger community, of which we are proud and in which we play a useful part, is also developed through a range of events and opportunities, for example:
- Charity fund raising (Children in Need, Red Nose Day, charities chosen by children, Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football);
- Events (Remembrance Day commemoration, minute’s silence for victims of Grenfell Tower, Manchester Arena tragedy, local and national events (Love Bradford), visits to different places of worship, drama (Anne Frank, WW1).
Review and Quality Control
School uses the Local Authority School Self-Assessment audit tool for Prevent and addresses any issues through the School Development Plan.
Hub site for Parents, Teachers and Governors, linking to other material and answering FAQs
Promoting British values as part of SMSC in schools https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/380595/SMSC_Guidance_Maintained_Schools.pdf
Online Safety – Protecting our children from Radicalisation and Extremism
To report any suspicion of terrorist threat or extremist material online: