What is the Prevent strategy?
Prevent is a government strategy designed to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorist or extremist causes.
How does the Prevent strategy apply to schools?
On 1 July 2015 the Prevent duty (section 26) of The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 came into force. This duty places the responsibility on schools to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.
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. We can provide a safe place for pupils to discuss these issues so they better understand how to protect themselves and equip them with values and attitudes that will help prevent them being drawn into danger.
What does this mean in practice?
At Powell, we see this as part of our wider work on keeping children safe; it is also part of our safeguarding policy. We teach children to be safe from radicalisation in the same way we teach them to be safe from gangs, online threats or exploitation. Many of the things we already do in school to help children become positive, happy members of society also contribute to the Prevent strategy. These include:
- Exploring other cultures and religions and promoting diversity
- Challenging prejudices and racist comments
- Learning how to resolve conflict peacefully, for example with a mediated discussion
- Developing thinking skills and a strong, positive self-identity
- Building confidence and the ability to form their own opinions
- Giving children the opportunity to discuss controversial issues in a safe environment
- Promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils
- Establishing a culture based on our School Values
- Learning about how to stay safe online and what to do if you come across something you don’t like
- Teaching and promoting the four ‘British Values’:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
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.
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. It is also 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 don’t know where the children who currently attend Powell Corderoy School will find themselves living and working, or who they may come across; Prevent is a strategy for life-long impact. We will give children the skills to protect them from any extremist views they may encounter, now or later in their lives.