The Prevent duty
All schools and registered childcare providers are required to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This is called the Prevent duty.
If you are a head teacher, it’s your responsibility to put in place robust procedures to protect your students from radicalisation and extremism.
As a school leader, you are also responsible for the review and evaluation of these procedures, and making sure they are effective. These procedures may be set out in existing safeguarding policies; you do not necessarily need to have distinct policies on implementing the Prevent duty.
Every school is different and a ‘one size fits all’ approach to dealing with the threat of extremism won’t work. However, you must make sure that you have considered what is appropriate in your school based on your risk assessment and taking into account the circumstances of your school and its local community.
Protecting the children in your care against extremism and radicalisation should be treated in the same way as protecting them from other harms such as drugs, gangs, neglect and sexual exploitation, whether these come from within their family or are the product of outside influences.
In addition to your safeguarding responsibilities, your school should also help students build resilience against extremism and radicalisation by fostering a strong ethos and values-based education, as well as by providing a safe space for them to debate controversial issues and develop the critical thinking skills and knowledge they need to be able to challenge extremist arguments.
There are no mandatory reporting requirements under the duty. The Prevent duty is not about spying on students or carrying out unnecessary intrusion into family life. It’s about ensuring that your staff know how to identify behaviour of concern and how to refer students who may be at risk of radicalisation for appropriate support.
To help, here are some useful resources that explain the Prevent duty and advise on how you can lead your school in tackling extremism and radicalisation.