This Act came into force on 1st July 2015 and there is a further legal requirement on schools to

‘protect pupils from extremism and radicalisation’

In practice this means continuing the work we do to promote and celebrate British values however, it also puts a requirement on schools to incorporate an approach noted in the Act called ’Prevent’

What is the Prevent Strategy?

The Home Office explains that Prevent is part of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Page 1 of the strategy document says that it seeks to:

  • Respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and aspects of extremism, and the threat posed by those who promote these views
  • Provide practical help to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure they are given appropriate advice and support
  • Work with a wide range of sectors where there are risks of radicalisation which need to be addressed, including education, criminal justice, faith, charities, the internet and health

A representative from the DfE’s due diligence and counter-extremism division explained: (The Key July 1st 2015)

All schools are required by law to teach a broad and balanced curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral and cultural development of pupils and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life.

Publicly funded schools are required to promote community cohesion, a duty first introduced through the Education and Inspections Act 2006.

The DfE representative added that schools can help to protect children from extremist and violent views in the same ways that they help to safeguard children from drugs, gangs and alcohol. He suggested that a school’s work on Prevent could be seen in this context.

He also said:

Staff can help to identify children whose behaviour suggests that they are being drawn into terrorism

The purpose must be to protect children from harm and to ensure that they are taught in a way that is consistent with the law and the country’s values. Awareness of Prevent and the risks it is intended to address are vital.

Staff can help to identify children whose behaviour suggests that they are being drawn into terrorism or extremism. These children can then be referred to the relevant agencies.

Guidance from the DfE prevent-duty-departmental-advice-v6

The DfE ‘Learning to be safe together document prevent toolkit

The DfE ‘Prevent Duty Guidance’ PreventDutyGuidanceEnglandWales