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Protecting children from the risk of radicalisation should be seen as part of schools’ wider safeguarding duties, and is similar in nature to protecting children from other forms of harm and abuse. During the process of radicalisation it is possible to intervene to prevent vulnerable people being radicalised.
Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism. There is no single way of identifying an individual who is likely to be susceptible to an extremist ideology. It can happen in many different ways and settings. Specific background factors may contribute to vulnerability which are often combined with specific influences such as family, friends or online, and with specific needs for which an extremist or terrorist group may appear to provide an answer. The internet and the use of social media in particular has become a major factor in the radicalisation of young people.
Extremism 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, whether in this country or overseas.
As with other safeguarding risks, staff should be alert to changes in children’s behaviour which could indicate that they may be in need of help or protection. Staff should use their judgement in identifying children who might be at risk of radicalisation and act proportionately which may include making a referral to the Channel programme.
Schools are expected to assess the risk of children being drawn into terrorism, including support for extremist ideas that are part of terrorist ideology. This means being able to demonstrate both a general understanding of the risks affecting children and young people in the area and a specific understanding of how to identify individual children who may be at risk of radicalisation and what to do to support them. (Schools procedures should be a part of their safeguarding policies).
The Prevent duty builds on existing local partnership arrangements. For example, governing bodies and proprietors of all schools should ensure that their safeguarding arrangements take into account the policies and procedures of the Local Safeguarding Children Board. Effective engagement with parents / the family should also be considered as they are in a key position to spot signs of radicalisation. It is important to assist and advise families who raise concerns and be able to point them to the right support mechanisms. Schools should also discuss any concerns in relation to possible radicalisation with a child’s parents in line with the individual school’s safeguarding policies and procedures unless they have specific reason to believe that to do so would put the child at risk.
As a minimum, however, schools should ensure that the designated safeguarding lead undertakes Prevent awareness training and is able to provide advice and support to staff on protecting children from the risk of radicalisation.
Keeping Children Safe In Education
At our school Mrs Green has attended recent Prevent training and all staff have undertaken the Channel module training.
School and college staff should understand when it is appropriate to make a referral to the Channel programme; this should be done through the MASH team as with all referrals.
Across the whole school curriculum we work to ensure we actively promote life in Modern Britain and ensure our children are aware of individual liberty, democracy, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and finally rule of law.
Concerns about the views of a child expressed in school should be recorded on a cause for concern pink form and return to the Designated Safeguarding Lead. The DSL on receipt of concerns will contact the Northamptonshire MASH for advice and log concerns with the Preventing extremism in schools and children's services helpline
Telephone: 020 7340 7264