The Prevent duty: what it means for schools

In order for schools to fulfil the Prevent duty, it is essential that as staff we are able to identify children who may be vulnerable to radicalisation, and know what to do when they are identified. Protecting children from the risk of radicalisation is part of our wider safeguarding duties, and is similar in nature to protecting children from other harms (e.g. drugs, gangs, neglect, sexual exploitation), whether these come from within their family or are the product of outside influences.

We build pupils’ resilience to radicalisation by promoting fundamental British values and enabling them to challenge extremist views. It is important to emphasise that the Prevent duty is not intended to stop pupils debating controversial issues. On the contrary, as a school we should provide a safe space in which children, young people and staff can understand the risks associated with terrorism and develop the knowledge and skills to be able to challenge extremist arguments.

The statutory guidance on the Prevent duty summarises the requirements on schools in terms of four general themes:

  • Risk assessment:  by assessing the risk of children being drawn into terrorism, including support for extremist ideas that are part of terrorist ideology and responding swiftly.
  • Working in partnership:  with other agencies. The Prevent duty builds on existing local partnership arrangements. Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) are responsible for co-ordinating what is done by local agencies for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in their local area. Safeguarding arrangements should already take into account the policies and procedures of the LSCB. For example, LSCBs publish threshold guidance indicating when a child or young person might be referred for support.
  • Staff training: The statutory guidance refers to the importance of Prevent awareness training to equip staff to identify children at risk of being drawn into terrorism and to challenge extremist ideas. All staff complete Prevent training.
  • IT policies: The statutory guidance makes clear the need for schools to ensure that children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in schools. Schools should ensure that suitable filtering is in place. Please see our information on web filtering.

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