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Prevent is the Government’s strategy to stop people becoming radicalised into extremist behaviour.
Prevent works at the pre-criminal stage by using early intervention to encourage individuals and communities to challenge extremist and terrorist ideology and behaviour.
The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act (2015), places a duty on specified authorities, including schools and colleges, to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism (“the Prevent duty”). The Prevent duty reinforces existing duties placed upon educational establishments for keeping children safe by:
- Ensuring a broad and balanced curriculum is in place schools to promote the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils.
- Assessing the risk of pupils being drawn into extremist views.
- Ensuring safeguarding arrangements by working in partnership with local authorities, police and communities.
- Training staff to provide them with the knowledge and ability to identify pupils at risk.
- Keeping pupils safe online, using effective filtering and usage policies.
Warning Signs/Indicators of Concern
There is no such thing as a “typical extremist”: those who become involved in extremist actions come from a range of backgrounds and experiences, and most individuals, even those who hold radical views, do not become involved in violent extremist activity.
Pupils may become susceptible to radicalisation through a range of social, personal and environmental factors. It is vital that school staff are able to recognise those vulnerabilities. However, this list is not exhaustive, nor does it mean that all young people experiencing the above are at risk of radicalisation for the purposes of violent extremism.
Factors which may make pupils more vulnerable may include:
- Identity Crisis: the pupil is distanced from their cultural/religious heritage and experiences discomfort about their place in society.
- Personal Crisis: the pupil may be experiencing family tensions; a sense of isolation; low self-esteem; they may have dissociated from their existing friendship group and become involved with a new and different group of friends; they may be searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging.
- Personal Circumstances: migration; local community tensions and events affecting the pupil’s country or region of origin may contribute to a sense of grievance that is triggered by personal experience of racism or discrimination or aspects of Government policy.
- Unmet Aspirations: the pupil may have perceptions of injustice; a feeling of failure; rejection of civic life.
- Experiences of Criminality: involvement with criminal groups, imprisonment, poor resettlement or reintegration.
- Special Educational Need: pupils may experience difficulties with social interaction, empathy with others, understanding the consequences of their actions and awareness of the motivations of others.
Pupils who are vulnerable to radicalisation may also be experiencing:
- Substance and alcohol misuse
- Peer pressure
- Influence from older people or via the Internet
- Domestic violence
- Race/hate crime
Behaviours which may indicate a child is at risk of being radicalised or exposed to extremist views could include:
- Being in contact with extremist recruiters and/or spending increasing time in the company of other suspected extremists;
- Loss of interest in other friends and activities not associated with the extremist ideology, group or cause;
- Pupils accessing extremist material online, including through social networking sites;
- Possessing or accessing materials or symbols associated with an extremist cause;
- Using extremist narratives and a global ideology to explain personal disadvantage;
- Pupils voicing opinions drawn from extremist ideologies and narratives, this may include justifying the use of violence to solve societal issues;
- Graffiti symbols, writing or art work promoting extremist messages or images;
- Significant changes to appearance and/or behaviour increasingly centred on an extremist ideology, group or cause;
- Changing their style of dress or personal appearance to accord with the group;
- Attempts to recruit others to the group/cause;
- Using insulting to derogatory names for another group;
- Increase in prejudice-related incidents committed by that person – these may include:
- physical or verbal assault
- provocative behaviour
- damage to property
- derogatory name calling
- possession of prejudice-related materials
- prejudice related ridicule or name calling
- inappropriate forms of address
- refusal to co-operate
- attempts to recruit to prejudice-related organisations
- condoning or supporting violence towards others
- Parental reports of changes in behaviour, friendship or actions and requests for assistance;
- Partner schools, local authority services, and police reports of issues affecting pupils in other schools.
What is Channel?
Channel is an early intervention Multi-Agency panel designed to safeguard vulnerable individuals from being drawn into extremist or terrorist behaviour. Channel works in a similar way to existing Multi-Agency partnerships for vulnerable individuals. It is a voluntary process allowing the individual to withdraw from the programme at any timeWho is Channel aimed at?
Channel is for individuals of any age who are at risk of exploitation by extremist or terrorist ideologues. Early intervention can prevent individuals being drawn into terrorist-related activity in a similar way to criminal activity such as drugs, knife or gang crime.
How does Channel work?
The Channel Panel is chaired by the local authority and works with Multi-Agency partners to collectively assess the risk to an individual and decide whether an intervention is necessary. If a Channel intervention is required, the Panel works with local partners including schools to develop an appropriate individualised support package. Partnership involvement ensures that those at risk have access to a wide range of support. The support package is monitored closely and reviewed regularly by the Channel Panel.
There are many organisations, groups and websites that provide resources to support schools with tackling radicalisation, extremism, intolerance, hate crime and other related topics. Here are some suggested resources:
- educate.against.hate is the Government website providing practical advice to parents, teachers and school leaders on protecting children from extremism and radicalisation. The website includes links to a range of useful resources, good practice examples and suggested curriculum content.
- London Grid for Learning: Counter extremism narratives and conversations -This resource offers information, insights and advice through a series of videos which seek to help schools navigate the difficult subject of extremism.
- The FREE Initiative: A pan-European resource to offer practical guidance on countering far-right extremism across Europe. It aims to inspire and promote cross-border learning among those working against violent far-right extremism.
- The Holocaust Centre: Hosts outreach programmes and teaching materials to educate young people about the Holocaust and share lessons on combating prejudice and racism.
- 1001 Inventions: This website examines the degree of shared heritage between the Muslim community and other communities in the UK, Europe and across the World.
- The Let’s Talk About It: provides information enabling people to learn more about the Government's Prevent strategy with an aim to safeguard those who may be vulnerable to radicalisation. There is a range of supportive material on the website which also provides links to partner agencies to help people spot the signs of radicalisation at an early stage and provide communities with advice as to what to do.
National Counter Terrorism Hotline – 0800 789 321
Safeguarding and Partnership Hub – 01482 395500
Youth and Family Support – 01482 396623
The DfE has dedicated a telephone helpline (020 7340 7264) to enable staff and governors to raise concerns relating to extremism directly. Concerns can also be raised by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that the helpline is not intended for use in emergency situations, such as a child being at immediate risk of harm or a security incident, in which case the normal emergency procedures should be followed.