Prevention of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism
Preventing radicalisation and violent extremism involves safeguarding vulnerable individuals from being radicalised into extremist behaviour and attitudes. Anyone from any area, ethnic group, socio-economic background, age group, gender can be in a vulnerable place for a variety of reasons and so be susceptible to radicalisation. This can happen in small villages as well as in big cities in any part of the country and the reach of the online world can be appealing for people when at their most isolated and vulnerable.
All schools have a part to play in preventing radicalisation and violent extremism regardless of where we work and who we work with. This is why the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a Public Duty on all schools and local authorities to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.
Schools have safeguarding responsibilities and will already ensure that they protect young people and children from harm like physical/sexual abuse, drug abuse and bullying. Similarly, schools can also play a key role in identifying signs, and working to reduce the risks of, radicalisation and extremism.
Schools can have both a proactive and reactive role in preventing radicalisation and extremism. The reactive role includes situations wherein specific concerns are raised and safeguarding processes are followed to access support and guidance for children, young people and families at threat of radicalisation and extremism. When individuals require further support schools can access the multi-agency Channel process which is a safeguarding process with specific focus on supporting individuals at risk to radicalisation.
A proactive response to radicalisation and extremism within schools is to promote and develop critical thinking and emotional intelligence skills within children and young people. Supported by engagement with partner agencies and relevant resources schools can offer children and young people, even parents and staff, a safe space to investigate and discuss current and historic ideas and attitudes regarding politics, identity, faith and ideology as well as significant events happening in this country or others, positive or harmful. This may enable the development of an age appropriate counter-narrative that challenges manipulative messages that promote harmful attitudes and behaviour.
West Sussex County Council has delivered training sessions to both schools and early year’s providers with these principles in place. The universal provision of critical thinking skills is as important as the focused safeguarding response to individual situations.
By clicking on the Who We Are? link on the right hand side of this page, you will be asked to login to the site and will then be able to view our pages which have been created to support and guide schools to be able to meet the requirements of the Prevent Duty and better understand what is required when working to prevent radicalisation and extremism.
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