Prevent and schools - the role of schools

Why is Prevent relevant for schools

Children and young people can be exposed to extremist ideology. This can hinder their social development and educational attainment alongside posing a very real risk that they could support or partake in an act of violence.

“Between April 2007 and the end of March 2014 Channel received a total of 1450 referrals that were under 18 years of age at the time they were referred.” National Channel Referral Figures, ACPO

The overall role of schools in safeguarding children is set out in the Government’s statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ published in April 2014. School safeguarding policies may therefore need to be amended to include the issue of extremism or radicalisation.

  • An updated Ofsted inspection framework published in January 2013 sets out expectations on preventing extremism. By directing inspectors to examine a school’s response to extremist behaviour when considering the behaviour and safety of pupils, as well as the effectiveness of the leadership and management of the school in preventing extremism.
  • Since 2012, it has been required by law for teachers “not to undermine fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”
  • The Department for Education has just finished a consultation on changes to the Independent School Standards (ISS) aimed at strengthening powers to intervene in schools that fail to actively promote British values.
  • The Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 has now placed the Channel Programme on a statutory footing. This gives a range of specified bodies, including schools and colleges, a new duty* to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. * See Prevent Duty Guidance

Considerations for schools

In light of recent events you may wish to consider the following questions;

  • Do you need to update your existing safeguarding and child protection policies to reflect the potential risk of pupils becoming radicalised or engaging in extremism?
  • Do key staff know how to identify when a pupil may be at risk of engaging in extremism and how to respond if they do?
  • Is there potential for pupils to be inadvertently exposed to extremism, for example via their internet use or external visitors?
  • How will the proposed changes of the DfE consultation document on the promotion of ‘British values’ affect your place of education? You may wish to consider whether your curriculum fully meets the requirements of preparing young people for life in modern Britain.

“Safeguarding vulnerable people from radicalisation is no different from safeguarding them from other forms of harm” Home Office, The Prevent Strategy

Support available

Through the Home Office’s Prevent Strategy, the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea are able to provide support for schools who may wish to train staff, review existing policies or adapt the curriculum.

A designated Prevent Officer is available to support our schools in some or all of the following ways:

  • Conduct bespoke training for education based staff to identify when someone may be at risk of extremism or radicalisation. Staff will learn how to refer to ‘Channel’, a multi-agency support scheme for those who are identified as being at risk of being drawn into extremism. A certificate of school participation is provided.
  • Provide a ‘Prevent information pack’ including items such as; resources for the classroom (KS2 and KS4), a sample ‘Extremism policy’ and directions on how to refer to ‘Channel’.
  • Engage with young people to raise awareness of radicalisation and some of the inter-related issues such as world events.

Key resources

You can find an overview of important legislation relating to Prevent in schools on our legislation page. This includes links to statutory Prevent Duty Guidance and Channel guidance which schools are strongly encouraged to download and review. Legislation, campaigns and links

The information on this page is available in a pdf below.

Overview for Schools Policy and Safeguarding Leads (pdf)

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