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Preventing extremism

4. Schools, High and Further Education

How does the Prevent strategy apply to schools and Higher & Further Education?

From July 2015 schools and Higher & Further education have a duty to safeguard children and adults from radicalisation and extremism. This means schools have a responsibility to protect children from violent and extremist views the same way they protect them from drugs or gang violence. Importantly, schools can provide a safe place for pupils to discuss these issues so they better understand how to protect themselves.

What does this mean in practice?

Report Extremism

Many of the things already happening in schools help children become positive, happy members of society, contributing to the Prevent strategy.

These include:

  • Learning about other cultures and religions and promoting diversity
  • Promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils, as well as British values such as democracy.
  • Developing critical thinking skills and a strong, positive self-identity.
  • Challenging prejudices and racial comments

Schools also protect from the risk of radicalisation, for example by using filters on the internet to make sure they can’t access extremist and terrorist material, or by vetting visitors who come into school to work with pupils. Overall, each school has the ability to carry out the Prevent duty differently, depending on the age of the children and the needs of the community.

Why is it important for schools to discuss extremism?

Exploring ideas, developing a sense of identity and forming views are a normal part of growing up. Schools can support young people in this by providing a safe environment for discussing controversial issues and encouraging them to express their views while learning to appreciate the impact those views can have on others. Recognising that young people can be exposed to extremist influences or prejudiced views, particularly through the internet and social media, schools can help support and protect them from these extreme views in the same ways they help to safeguard children from gangs, drugs or alcohol.

The Government has published Prevent duty guidance: for further education institutions in England and Wales and Prevent duty guidance: for higher education institutions in England and Wales.

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Last updated: 20 September 2017

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