The Prevent Duty - preventing extremism
1. About Prevent, Contest and Channel
By law, all registered childcare providers (early years and later years) are subject to a duty under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 and must have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This duty is known as the Prevent Duty. Paragraphs 57-76 of the Act are concerned specifically with schools and childcare providers.
The key aim of Prevent is to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism or violent extremism. A child or young person may be vulnerable to radicalisation or violent extremism.
Prevent is part of Contest, the government’s strategy to address terrorism.
Channel is the name for the national process of identifying and referring a person for early intervention and support - the word refers to channeling a person through the process.
The UK government's definition of extremism in their Prevent guidance is
"Vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces"
2. Risk Assessment
Schools and childcare providers are expected to assess the risk of children being drawn into terrorism, including support for extremist ideas that are part of terrorist ideology. This should be based on an understanding, shared with partners, of the potential risk in the local area.
What you need to do
Part of your assessment of risk will include a summary of the local risk within East Sussex and this will be communicated to you on an annual basis by the East Sussex Prevent Board. Keep this report with other records relating to Prevent in a safe and secure place. This report will include national and local tensions, also the types and number of young people referred across East Sussex. This will support you in identifying any emerging issues locally for your own risk assessment, which should:
- Identify the threats in relation to the summary of local risk
- Decide who might be harmed and how
- Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions
- Record your significant findings
A risk assessment template can be found in the Prevent toolkit for schools.
3. Training about Prevent and Channel
The East Sussex Prevent e-learning course
This course will introduce you to the Prevent Counter Terrorism Strategy. You will develop an understanding of the Prevent agenda for those working with children, young people and families and their role within it, including statutory duties (and duties specifically for schools).
General awareness training on Channel
The College of Policing & Metropolitan Police Service have produced an online general awareness training module on Channel. The module is suitable for school staff and other front-line workers. It provides an introduction to the topics, including how to identify factors that can make people vulnerable to radicalisation, and case studies illustrating the types of intervention that may be appropriate, in addition to Channel.
4. Make a referral
If you are concerned that someone is vulnerable to radicalisation you have a duty to refer them to the Channel programme. Channel provides support at an early stage to people who are identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism.
Children must not be referred to Channel unless there is very clear evidence that they are being radicalised or are developing an ideology, and there is clearly no alternative or more proportionate means of dealing with the issue. Referring very young people has rightly been a source of community concern and risks undermining the credibility of the Channel programme as a whole.
Association with any non-prescribed organisation is not in itself sufficient to justify a referral. It would require additional behaviours that suggests that they are moving towards terrorism rather than just associating or being attracted to a group that manifests extreme ideologies.
See the Prevent Toolkit for Schools and Childcare Providers for some areas to guide you in considering the engagement, intent and capability of the young person prior to making a referral.
To make a referral please download the referral form and send to the relevant email address.
5. Model Prevent school policy
It is very rare for school children to become involved in criminal extremist activity but young people can be exposed to extremism or prejudiced views. This can be from the internet from an early age.
The School Preventing Extremism and Radicalisation Safeguarding Policy has been developed for schools in East Sussex to use as a basis for their own respective school policies. It should fit in with your existing Safeguarding Policy and reference should be made to what it is and how you will protect children from messages of violent extremism.
6. British values
Ofsted includes reference to ‘British values’ in the Common Inspection Framework (Ofsted fact sheet 150065).
The fundamental British values of
- rule of law
- individual liberty
- mutual respect
- tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs
are already implicitly embedded in the Early Years Foundation Stage. See Fundamental British Values in the Early Years for some helpful examples of what these values can mean.