Preventing Radicalisation in school
Building resilience in our young people and the promotion of fundamental British values is at the heart of preventing radicalisation. We do this by providing a safe place in which children can discuss issues, and we aim to give them the knowledge and confidence to challenge extremist beliefs and ideologies.
Our new prevent duty, is carried out under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, which legally requires us to take steps to prevent pupils from being drawn into terrorism. We take this duty seriously and carry out the four main actions responsibly, namely:
- risk assessment,
- working in partnership,
- staff training
- policies for digital safety and IT.
What are the risks?
Children and young people can be drawn into violence or exposed to messages of extremist groups by a number of means, including the influence of:
- Family members or friends and/or direct contact with extremist groups and organisations
- The internet and social media to share extremist ideologies and views. On-line content/social media may pose a specific risk as it can be seen to normalise radical views and promote content which is shocking and extreme; children can be trusting and may not necessarily appreciate bias, which can lead to being drawn into such groups and to adopt their extremist views.
- Exposure to extremist groups increases the risk of a young person being drawn into criminal activity and has the potential to cause significant harm.
If we assess a child as at risk, we will refer to the local MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub) team for advice.
In terms of training, staff have received training to familiarise them with the Prevent Duty.
In terms of internet safety, we ensure suitable filters are in place to keep children away from extremist materials through the London Grid for Learning.
We recognise that we 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 our care.
What we do if there is a concern
If we have a concern about a particular pupil we will follow the school’s normal safeguarding procedures, including discussing with the school’s designated safeguarding lead, and where deemed necessary, with Children’s Social Care. We may also contact the School's Co-ordinator at Sutton Police. They can talk to us in confidence about concerns and help us gain access to support and advice. The Department for Education can also support us through their dedicated advice line.
If parents have a concern
If parents have concerns about their own or another child they are most welcome to contact Police or the NSPCC directly or they can speak to a member of the school leadership safeguarding team:
Spotting signs and getting help
Radicalisation can be really difficult to spot. Signs that may indicate a child is being radicalised include:
- isolating themselves from family and friends
- talking as if from a scripted speech
- unwillingness or inability to discuss their views
- a sudden disrespectful attitude towards others
- increased levels of anger
- increased secretiveness, especially around internet use.
Children who are at risk of radicalisation may have low self-esteem, or be victims of bullying or discrimination. Extremists might target them and tell them they can be part of something special, later brainwashing them into cutting themselves off from their friends and family.
However, these signs don't necessarily mean a child is being radicalised – it may be normal teenage behaviour or a sign that something else is wrong. If you notice any change in a child's behaviour and you're worried, you can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000
Some key terms:
Extremism – vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values such as democracy, the rule of law and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
Terrorism – a violent action against people or property, designed to create fear and advance a political, religious or ideological cause
Radicalisation – the process by which a person comes to support extremism and terrorism