What is the Prevent strategy?
Prevent is a government strategy designed to stop people becoming isolated, radicalised and extremist in their thinking. At St Francis de Sales School students participate in a curriculum that promotes active learning and develops critical personal thinking skills, while promoting core Gospel and British values. We believe this rich and varied education supports pupils to become reflective, caring and constructive members of their community.
How does the Prevent strategy apply to schools?
From July 2015 all schools (as well as other organisations) have a duty to safeguard children from radicalisation and extremism.
This means we have a responsibility to protect children from extremist, extreme or violent views in the same way as we protect them from drugs or gang violence. This is part of our wider efforts to safeguard children and protect them from harm. The Prevent strategy covers all types of terrorism and extremism, including the extreme right wing, violent Islamist groups and other causes.
Importantly, as an educational setting, we can provide a safe place for pupils to discuss these issues so they better understand how to protect themselves. We believe it is important for children to have an environment in which they feel safe to discuss challenging views.
What does this mean in practice?
Many of the things we already do in school to help children become positive, happy members of society also contribute to the Prevent strategy.
- Exploring a range of cultures and religions and promoting diversity
- Challenging prejudices (behaviour which contradicts any aspect of Equality Law)
- Developing thinking skills and a strong, positive self-identity
- Promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils, as well as British values such as democracy
Our school systems and processes also prevent children from exposure to extremist thinking and content. For example, by using filters on the internet to make sure they can’t access extremist, extreme or terrorist material or by vetting visitors who come into school to work with pupils.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ to the Prevent Duty and different schools will carry out Prevent in different ways, depending on the age of the children and the needs of the community.
For example, as a Catholic school we teach children the Gospel values of faith, hope, love, forgiveness and service as well as our own school values of aspiration, respect, resilience, teamwork and engagement.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does Prevent relate to British values?
In addition to the values outlined above, schools have been required to promote British values since 2014, and this will continue to be part of our response to the Prevent strategy.
British values include:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty and mutual respect
- Tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
Isn’t my child too young to learn about extremism?
The Prevent strategy is not simply about discussing extremism itself, which may not be appropriate for younger children. It is also about teaching children values such as tolerance and mutual respect.
The school will make sure any discussions are suitable for the age and maturity of the children involved.
Is extremism really a risk in our area?
Extremism can take many forms, including political, religious and misogynistic extremism. Some of these may be a bigger threat in our area than others.
We will give children the skills to protect them from any extremist views they may encounter, now or later in their lives.
Extremism – vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values such as democracy, the rule of law and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
Ideology – a set of beliefs
Terrorism – a violent action against people or property, designed to create fear and advance a political, religious or ideological cause
Radicalisation – the process by which a person comes to support extremist behaviour