Monday, 4 January 2016

The Prevent Duty for Schools & all Childcare Settings

From the 1st July 2015 all schools, childcare settings and all establishments of higher and further education 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"

This is known as Prevent Duty and applies to a wide range of public bodies.

And all those organisations must have read, made themselves aware of and have regard to the statutory guidance here: 

Paragraphs 57-76 are particularly pertinent and specifically concerned with schools and childcare providers.

In order for schools and childcare providers to fulfil the Prevent duty, it is essential that staff 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 should be seen as part of schools’ and childcare providers’ 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.

Schools and childcare providers can also build pupils’ resilience to radicalisation by promoting fundamental British values and enabling them to challenge extremist5 views. It is important to emphasise that the Prevent duty is not intended to stop pupils debating controversial issues. On the contrary, schools 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. For early years childcare providers, the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage sets standards for learning, development and care for children from 0-5, thereby assisting their personal, social and emotional development and understanding of the world. 

The Prevent duty is entirely consistent with schools’ and childcare providers’ existing responsibilities and should not be burdensome. Ofsted’s revised common inspection framework for education, skills and early years, which comes into effect from 1 September 2015, makes specific reference to the need to have safeguarding arrangements to promote pupils’ welfare and prevent radicalisation and extremism. The associated handbooks for inspectors set out the expectations for different settings. The common inspection framework and handbooks can be found here:

The statutory guidance on the Prevent duty summarises the requirements on schools and childcare providers in terms of four general themes: risk assessment, working in partnership, staff training and IT policies. This advice focuses on those four themes.

Schools and childcare providers should have clear procedures in place for protecting children at risk of radicalisation. These procedures may be set out in existing safeguarding policies. It is not necessary for schools and childcare settings to have distinct policies on implementing the Prevent duty. 

General safeguarding principles apply to keeping children safe from the risk of radicalisation as set out in the relevant statutory guidance:

Working together to safeguard children, and...

Keeping children safe in education

Detailed guidance and online training is also available from:

Guidance on promoting British Values can be found here:

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. More generally, schools have an important role to play in equipping children and young people to stay safe online, both in school and outside. Internet safety will usually be integral to a school’s ICT curriculum and can also be embedded in PSHE and SRE. 

General advice and resources for schools on internet safety are available on the UK Safer Internet Centre website here:

As with other online risks of harm, every teacher needs to be aware of the risks posed by the online activity of extremist and terrorist groups.

Guidance and tips fro promoting British Values in schools and childcare settings canbe found here:

References: as above

Written by Elaine Hook - Education & Training Consultant and Safeguarding Expert

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