As I enter a school I see a really lovely colourful display entitled ‘Fundamental British Values’. There are the headings – Democracy, Rule of Law, Individual Liberty and Mutual Respect and Tolerance for different faiths and beliefs – and posters and quotes from children about what these ideas mean to them in real life. Interestingly, the display also includes the values of some other countries – and I learn that Bhutan holds the value of ‘Happiness’ for all its citizens which is food for thought. There is a lot to learn in terms of the Prevent agenda, and this school community is obviously working hard at developing the knowledge of children, families and staff. Fantastic practice.
I hope now that most professionals working with children are fully aware that since 2015 ‘specified authorities’ (schools, childminders, nurseries, further education, adult education, higher education providers and local authorities) are subject to a duty under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’ – the Prevent Duty. However, when I recently delivered a session on Advanced Safeguarding I was a bit bemused at the lack of confidence with regard to this important safeguarding responsibility. ‘I am not going to speak much about the Prevent Agenda’ I announce confidently, ‘as this has been about since 2015 and it’s old news now.’ Some participants confess to me in private during the break that they never quite got it the first time round and they aren’t really sure where they stand on complying with the new duty.
So where can you start?
This week I came across a brand new resource produced by Ealing Council that took a really practical approach to the challenges posed by the Prevent Agenda. These are the action steps it advised:
Step 1 – Organise a Prevent working group:
Involve the whole setting by creating a Prevent working group. Agree who will attend and how often you will meet. Identify what the key challenges are. Promote new initiatives, oversee practice, organise staff training, monitor and reflect on progress.
Step 2 – Plan and prepare your policy and practice:
Review your safeguarding policy and practices around Prevent. Is Prevent clearly regarded as a safeguarding issue? Are responsibilities clear? Does the policy clarify how the setting will recognize the signs and symptoms of radicalization, manage disclosure, record, report and refer? Is there online safety policy? Prevent risk assessment?
Step 3 – Promote fundamental British values:
How are you going to promote these in your setting? How can you promote them in the curriculum, activities or the environment – and beyond? What resources can you use?
Step 4 – Promote online safety:
How can you ensure the children have the knowledge and skills to stay safe and build resilience online? How can you promote critical thinking? What systems do you need to put in place? What training can you offer staff? How will you respond any concerns involving online safety? How will you involve parents?
Step 5 – Communication:
Plan how you will communicate your Prevent strategy, remembering that clear and consistent messages will create awareness of your strategy and get buy in from staff, volunteers, governors or trustees, parents and children. Think about inset, open evenings, notices, assemblies, emails, meetings.
Step 6 – Review, monitor and evaluate:
Make date to check how your work is progressing and plan how you could make any improvements.
For more information check out the toolkit: https://www.egfl.org.uk/services-children/safeguarding/anti-radicalisation-prevent-duty
This approach offers just one way of going about tackling your Prevent duties. In truth there is a wealth of online resources that can help.