Ofsted’s revised common inspection framework for education, skills and early years, makes specific reference to the need to have safeguarding arrangements to promote pupils’ welfare and prevent radicalisation and extremism.
Ofsted have increased their focus on ‘fundamental British values’, supporting intervention action if an institution or provider has failed to comply with the duty.
There are five main strands which run throughout the Prevent Duty guidance that schools should comply with:
- Risk assessment
- Working in partnership
- Staff training
- IT policies
- Building resilience
So how can your school demonstrate that you are complying with the duty?
What is considered good practice when undertaking risk assessment?
Statistics show that 90% of radicalisation occurs online and so nowhere is risk free. It is therefore considered good practice for schools and academies to undertake a risk assessment of children and young people at risk of being drawn into terrorism and develop a robust Prevent action plan which is fit for purpose. The risk assessment should include an understanding of the local context supported by the local authority and police. Staff should receive training in identifying children and young people at risk, and be aware of the referral process to Channel in providing support to those at risk.
Prevent should be explicit within the school’s safeguarding and child protection policies and there should be a clear escalation of intervention in place. Promoting fundamental British values and building resilience should be part of the school’s culture and embedded within the curriculum.
Schools and academies should also undertake risk assessments when letting or leasing buildings to ensure that access isn’t given to those promoting extremist views and ideologies.
How can I evidence working in partnership?
The Prevent Duty builds on existing local partnership arrangements. Governing bodies and proprietors of all schools should ensure that their safeguarding arrangements take into account the policies and procedures of the Local Safeguarding Children Board. Schools should also work closely with the local police and establish meaningful connections with local religious leaders.
Working in partnership and engagement with families should also be considered as they are in a key position to spot the signs and indicators of radicalisation. A risk assessment should always be undertaken when contacting parent and carers in case this puts the child or young person at greater risk.
What is the requirement around staff training?
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016, emphasises the importance of Prevent awareness training to equip staff to identify children at risk of being drawn into terrorism and to challenge extremist ideas.
As individual schools assess the risk to pupils of being drawn into terrorism, they are also best placed to assess the training needs of their staff. As a minimum however, schools should ensure that the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) undertakes Prevent awareness training and is able to provide advice and support to staff on protecting children from the risk of radicalisation. It is good practice for those in high priority areas to consider a whole school approach to training, which includes workshops for children and young people and also parents and carers.
Finally, staff should be equipped with the ability to allow children and young people to debate controversial issues in a safe and secure way.
Why is it important to have clear ICT policies?
90% of children are radicalised online, so this should form an essential part of the school’s curriculum and a clear part of school’s policy.
The statutory guidance makes clear the need for schools to ensure that children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet, both in schools and at home. This should also include children and young people knowing where to report any concerns they might have.
It is also essential that schools have appropriate filtering systems in place, whilst not over-blocking.
In addition to teaching e-safety and creating safe spaces to debate controversial issues, children and young people should be taught about citizenship to prepare them to play a full and active part in society. In Citizenship, pupils learn about democracy, government and how laws are made and upheld. Pupils are also taught about the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding.
This can be supported for example by linking up with local religious leaders, allowing children to roleplay mock elections and building relationships with parents and carers.
Excellent resources for building resilience in the classroom can be found on Professor Angie Hart’s website: www.boingboing.org.uk