All schools are subject to a duty under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (CTSA 2015), in the exercise of their functions, to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. This duty is known as the Prevent Duty.
Some children are vulnerable to extremist ideology and radicalisation. Protecting children from the risk of radicalisation is part of the school’s wider safeguarding duties and is similar in nature to protecting children from other forms of harm and abuse. As such, the DSL is responsible for the school’s strategy for protecting children from those risks.
Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies associated with terrorist groups. Extremism is the vocal or active opposition to fundamental values, including the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. This also includes calling for the death of members of the armed forces.
Even very young children have been exposed, in rare circumstances, to extremism at home and elsewhere, including online. As children get older, they look for adventure and excitement and they may start to ask questions about their identity and belonging. During that stage of their development they are vulnerable to extremist groups that may claim to offer answers, identity and a social network apparently providing a sense of belonging. Many of those extremist groups make sophisticated use of the internet and social media to target young people and spread their ideology, making young people more vulnerable to being influenced by extremist ideas. Young people who feel isolated or disaffected in some way are particularly vulnerable to radicalisation as they are to other forms of abuse and exploitation. The school has defined responsibilities to ensure that children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in school.
During the process of radicalisation, it is possible to intervene to prevent vulnerable people being radicalised. The school is committed to preventing pupils from being radicalised and drawn into any form of extremism or terrorism. The school promotes the values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs by providing pupils with opportunities through the curriculum to discuss issues of religion, ethnicity and culture and to learn how to discuss and debate points of view and by ensuring that all pupils are valued and listened to within school. You can find more about our British Values teaching under our Curriculum tab.