New advice and social media guidance has been issued to schools and childcare providers to help them keep children safe from the risk of radicalisation and extremism, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced today (1 July 2015).
Building resilience of young people and the promotion of fundamental British values is at the heart of preventing radicalisation. Schools can do this by providing safe places in which children can discuss controversial issues, and be given the knowledge and confidence to challenge extremist beliefs and ideologies.
The advice has been published to coincide with the new prevent duty, introduced as part of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, which legally requires a range of organisations including schools, local authorities, prisons, police and health bodies to take steps to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.
Schools and childcare providers already play a vital role in keeping children safe from harm, including from the risks of extremism and radicalisation, and in promoting the welfare of children in their care.
The new duty builds on this and reinforces their existing duties by spreading understanding of the risks and current good practice across the country. The government issued statutory guidance on the duty for all public bodies in March.
The advice published today complements the statutory guidance and intends to help schools and childcare providers by:
- clarifying what the prevent duty means for schools and childcare providers
- outlining what they can do to help protect children from the risk of radicalisation
- making clear what schools and childcare providers should do to demonstrate compliance with the duty
- informing them about other sources of information, advice and support
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:
Extremism has no place in our schools but recent events have shown that the risks of young people being targeted by radical groups have risen and should not be underestimated.
Nothing is more important than keeping children safe from harm. Schools already play an important role in protecting and safeguarding young people including from radicalisation and extremism. That is why we have issued advice to schools and childcare providers to help them understand their role under the new prevent duty, which comes into force today (1 July) and which reinforces their existing safeguarding duties.
The government has also published advice today for schools on how social media is being used by extremist groups to encourage young people to travel to Syria and Iraq. It makes clear that every teacher should be aware of the risks posed by the online activity of extremist and terrorist groups and be vigilant of the signs of radicalisation.
Earlier this year the Department for Education set up a telephone helpline (020 7340 7264) and an email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) to enable people to raise concerns directly with the department.
The government is considering what more can be done to support schools and childcare providers in carrying out their safeguarding work including delivering training and ensuring schools have access to quality-assured classroom resources.