With the UK terror status as severe and one million UK professionals learning how to tackle terrorism under the government’s project Griffin, it is now more important than ever that schools and academies are ensuring that their whole staff base is confident in fulfilling their statutory obligations, as set out in the Prevent Duty.
It is everyone’s duty to protect our young people from any form of grooming. The Prevent Duty works in the pre-criminal space and aims to prevent young people being drawn into terrorist activity by understanding that they are victims and helping them to overcome their vulnerabilities.
Educating young people about true Islam
With the biggest threat currently coming from so called 'Islamic State' (IS), it is important that educational settings are ensuring that they are including British Islam within the notion of fundamental British values, in order to teach young people about true Islam, rather than a distorted view of the religion.
This year there have been fewer young people travelling to join IS but worryingly, the message from the terrorist group is widely believed to have changed from calling for people to travel to fight in Syria to encouragement to carry out acts of terror at home. Entering its second year, the Prevent Duty does not seem to be diminishing in relevance.
How do we incorporate Prevent Duty in schools?
It is estimated that 90% of radicalisation happens online. With this in mind, it is essential that schools have tight filtering systems in place and that pupils are taught how to keep themselves safe online, as well as learning critical thinking skills. E-safety teaching should extend across the whole school community and include staff awareness training on the potential pitfalls as well as parents’ workshops where issues and best practice can be discussed and explored.
Citizenship, linked to the Prevent Duty, can be taught through the curriculum in specific teaching, such as E-Safety workshops for pupils. It should also be incorporated in all aspects of learning and school life: - assemblies, debates, circle time, school council meetings and even evacuation drills can be used to extend pupils’ resilience to being drawn into terrorist activity.
Our Safeguarding Conference will explore how the Prevent Duty can be used to build resilience in young people through the notion of citizenship. For more information about E-Safety training for school staff, pupils and parent briefings, and IT filtering systems, please contact the Education Welfare and Safeguarding team on 0844 967 1111.