The PREVENT Duty
From July 1st 2015 all schools are subject to a duty under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, in the exercise of their functions, to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.” This duty is known as the PREVENT Duty for Schools.
At St Michael’s School we see the Prevent Duty as being part of our safeguarding Role, similar to protecting children from other harms (eg drugs, sexual exploitation, neglect). Our safeguarding policy has been revised to take account of the Prevent Duty.
There are four themes within the Prevent Duty:
- Risk assessment,
- working in partnership,
- staff training
- IT policies
- Risk Assessment
Our assessment of the risk of children within this school of being drawn into radicalisation of any form is that it is very low. This is partly due to the age of the children, but also due to the nature of the local and school community. The school is a close and supportive community, welcoming all newcomers, and the local Church (St Michaels) is very proactive in supporting families in the community. There are no known radical groups within the community, and instances of hate crime are very rare. There are currently no recorded instances of extremist comments or behaviour in the school community. Racist comments and behaviour are extremely rare, are closely monitored, and dealt with firmly.
Identification of vulnerable children
We place great emphasis on knowing our children and their families very well, and developing a close partnership throughout their time at St Michael’s School. In this way we would aim to be alert for any signs of radicalisation, including the displaying or promotion of extremist, or even intolerant, views. Should any staff members have concerns about a child or a child’s family, they would report this to the School Safeguarding Officer (Headteacher) or Chair of Governors. Both have undergone Channel Training.
- Working in partnership
South Gloucestershire is not a priority area for Prevent. However, we work closely with the local Safeguarding Board in monitoring and develop our Safeguarding policy and practices (including the Prevent Duty). A named governor for Safeguarding works with the School Safeguarding Officer to ensure these are fully in place. We employ a family link worker who supports some of our most disadvantaged and (economically) vulnerable families. Another member of staff supports families who have moved to the UK and where English is an Additional Language. In addition we work closely with other schools in the local area; local community groups and churches; local businesses. Above all we forge close links with all our families.
- Staff training
The teaching staff has recently (Jan 2016) undertaken the WRAP training (Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent), delivered by an accredited trainer. The Chair of Governors has also received this training. Key Staff members, and the Chair of Governors, have also undertaken the Channel training. All staff have been made area of the revised safeguarding policy: fundamental to this is the need to report concerns to the Safeguarding Officer. Further training will be undertaken as necessary.
- IT Policies and practices
Online materials can be a source of extremist views. The school operates a filtered service through the SWGfL (South West Grid for Learning). Any harmful material, not just extremist, is reported to SWGfL. Internet Safety is a core part of our IT teaching, and in addition we hold an annual esafety week to raise awareness throughout the whole school community of the potential dangers online: how to avoid them and how to report them. The school has clear and regularly reviewed policies on esafety and IT.
Building children’s resilience to radicalisation
We aim to build pupils’ resilience to radicalisation by providing a safe environment for debating controversial issues and helping them to understand how they can influence and participate in decision-making. One of our core aspects is to promote the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils and, within this, fundamental British values. (See PSHE policy and SSMC guidelines)
We aim to teach our pupils how to:
recognise and manage risk,
make safer choices,
and recognise when pressure from others threatens their personal safety and wellbeing.
We aim through our learning skills approach to develop traits such as resilience, determination, self-esteem, and confidence.
Our citizenship teaching is embedded within our wider curriculum, and children have the opportunity to learn about democracy, government and how laws are made and upheld. They also learn, through RE and other topic work, about the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the local area and beyond. An essential aspect within this is the development of mutual respect and understanding. Ultimately we aim to provide pupils with the knowledge, skills and understanding to prepare them to play a full and active part in society as they get older.
What to do if any staff member (or any member of the school community) has a concern
Any concern should be reported in the first instance to the School Safeguarding Officer.
The Department for Education has dedicated a telephone helpline (020 7340 7264) to enable staff and governors to raise concerns relating to extremism directly. Concerns can also be raised by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.