What is the Prevent Strategy?
Prevent is a government strategy designed to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorist or extremist causes.
The Prevent strategy covers all types of terrorism and extremism, including the extreme right wing, violent Islamist groups and other causes.
How does the Prevent Strategy apply to schools?
From July 2015 all schools (as well as other organisations) have a duty under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to safeguard children from radicalisation and extremism.
This means we have a responsibility to protect children from extremist and violent views the same way we protect them from drugs or gang violence. Importantly, we can provide a safe place for pupils to discuss these issues so they better understand how to protect themselves.
What does this mean in practice?
We recognise that we play a vital role in keeping children safe from harm, including from the risks of extremism and radicalisation, and in promoting the welfare of children in our care.
Many of the things we already do in school to help children become positive, happy members of society also contribute to the Prevent strategy.
- Exploring other cultures and religions and promoting diversity
- Challenging prejudices and racist comments
- Developing critical thinking skills and a strong, positive self-identity
- Promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils, as well as British values such as democracy
We will also protect children from the risk of radicalisation, for example by using filters on the internet to make sure they can’t access extremist and terrorist material, or by vetting visitors who come into school to work with pupils. Different schools will carry out the Prevent Duty in different ways, depending on the age of the children and the needs of the community.
What are the risks?
Children and young people can be drawn into violence or exposed to messages of extremist groups by a number of means, including the influence of:
- Family members or friends and/or direct contact with extremist groups and organisations.
- The internet and social media to share extremist ideologies and views. Online content/social media may pose a specific risk as it can be seen to normalise radical views and promote content which is shocking and extreme; children can be trusting and may not necessarily appreciate bias, which can lead to being drawn into such groups and to adopt their extremist views.
- Exposure to extremist groups increases the risk of a young person being drawn into criminal activity and has the potential to cause significant harm.
If we assess a child as at risk, we will refer to the local MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub) team for advice.
Potential Indicators include:
- The need for identity and belonging
- Use of inappropriate language
- Behavioural changes/becoming emotionally volatile
- The expression of extremist views
- Possession of violent extremist literature
- Advocating violent actions and means
- Seeking to recruit others to an extremist ideology
- A conviction that their religion, culture or beliefs are under threat and treated unjustly
- A tendency to look for conspiracy theories and distrust of mainstream media
- Being secretive about who they have been talking to online and what sites they visit
- Switching screens when you move near the phone, tablet or computer
- Possessing items - electronic devices or phones - of which the parent/carer is unaware
What we do if there is a concern
If we have a concern about a particular pupil we will follow the school’s normal safeguarding procedures, including discussing with the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead, and where deemed necessary, with Children’s Social Care.
The Department for Education can also support us through their dedicated advice line (020 7340 7264).
If parents have a concern
If parents have concerns about their own or another child they are most welcome to contact Police or the NSPCC directly or they can speak to a member of the safeguarding team:
Mr Grogan (Headteacher) is the Designated Safeguarding Lead
Mr Taylor-Graham (Deputy Headteacher) is a Deputy Safeguarding Lead
Mr Bowman (Assistant Headteacher) is a Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead
Miss Shettle (Inclusion Leader) is a Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead
Some key terms
Extremism – vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values such as democracy, the rule of law and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
Terrorism – a violent action against people or property, designed to create fear and advance a political, religious or ideological cause
Radicalisation – the process by which a person comes to support extremism and terrorism
Frequently Asked Questions
How does Prevent related to British Values?
Schools have been required to promote British values since 2014, and this will continue to be part of our response to the Prevent strategy.
British values include:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty and mutual respect
- Tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
Isn't my child too young to learn about extremism?
The Prevent strategy is not just about discussing extremism itself, which may not be appropriate for younger children. However, it is about teaching children values such as tolerance and mutual respect. The school will make sure any discussions are suitable for the age and maturity of the children involved.
Is extremism really a risk in our area?
Extremism can take many forms, including political, religious and misogynistic extremism. Some of these may be a bigger threat in our area than others. In future, we do not know where the children who currently attend John Burns Primary School will find themselves living and working, or who they may come across. We will give children the skills to protect them from any extremist views they may encounter, now or later in their lives.