Child care providers are required to have “due regard to the need to prevent children from being drawn into terrorism”. This duty is known as the Prevent duty.
In order to fulfil the Prevent duty, it is essential that we are able to identify children who may be vulnerable to radicalisation, and know what to do when they are identified. Protecting children from the risk of radicalisation is part of our wider safeguarding duties, and is similar in nature to protecting children from other harms (e.g. drugs, gangs, neglect, sexual exploitation), whether these come from within the family or from outside influences. We can build children’s resilience to radicalisation by promoting fundamental British values and enabling them to challenge extremist views. The Prevent duty is not intended to stop pupils debating controversial issues. In fact, a safe space will be provided in which children can understand the risks associated with terrorism and develop the knowledge and skills to be able to challenge extremist arguments. The statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage sets standards for learning, development and care for children from 0-5, thereby assisting their personal, social and emotional development and understanding of the world.
The Prevent duty summarises the requirements on schools and childcare providers into four general areas of risk assessment, working in partnership, staff training and IT policies:
I must assess the risk of children being drawn into terrorism, including support for extremist ideas that are part of terrorist ideology. The general risks affecting children and young people may vary from area to area, and according to their age. As a childcare provider, I may be in a position to identify risks within a local context and I will endeavour to understand these risks and respond to them in an appropriate and proportionate way. I am also aware of the increased risk of online radicalisation, as terrorist organisations try to radicalise through the use of social media and the internet. If necessary, I will approach the local authority and local police in order to obtain information which will enable me to understand the risks in our area. I shall be alert to changes in children’s behaviour which could indicate that they may be in need of help or protection. Children at risk of radicalisation may display different signs or seek to hide their views and I will use my professional judgement to identify children who might be at risk of radicalisation and I will then act proportionately. Even very young children may be vulnerable to radicalisation by others, whether in the family or outside, and display concerning behaviour and I must therefore take action if I observe concerning behaviour.
My general safeguarding principles apply to keeping children safe from the risk of radicalisation just as they keep children safe from other forms of abuse and if I believe that children are vulnerable to radicalisation I may make a referral to the Channel program via my local Prevent Officer, Kate Tuckwell (contact details below) if the child’s parents agree to this form of help.
Working in partnership
The Prevent duty builds on existing local partnership arrangements. Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) are responsible for co-ordinating what is done by local agencies for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in their local area. Safeguarding arrangements should already take into account the policies and procedures of the LSCB. For example, LSCBs publish threshold guidance indicating when a child or young person might be referred for support.
Local authorities are vital to all aspects of Prevent work. In some priority local authority areas, Home Office fund dedicated Prevent co-ordinators to work with communities and organisations, including schools. Other partners, in particular the police and also civil society organisations, may be able to provide advice and support to schools on implementing the duty.
Effective engagement with parents / the family is also important 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.
Prevent awareness training is essential to the identification of children at risk of being drawn into terrorism and to challenge extremist ideas and so there are Workshops to Raise Awareness of Prevent (WRAP). I have received Prevent awareness training and can work with my assistant by providing her with advice and support to protect children from the risk of radicalisation. I have met with my local Prevent police officer and have her contact details (below).
Children must be kept safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet and will only have access to appropriate material.
Building children’s resilience to radicalisation
We can build pupils’ resilience to radicalisation by providing a safe environment for debating controversial issues and helping them to understand how they can influence and participate in decision-making. As a childcare provider, I already promote the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of children and encourage them to adopt fundamental British values. I can encourage them to recognise and manage risk, make safer choices, and recognise when pressure from others threatens their personal safety and wellbeing. They can also develop effective ways of resisting pressures, including knowing when, where and how to get help. I encourage children to develop positive character traits such as resilience, determination, self-esteem, and confidence and aim to provide them with the knowledge, skills and understanding to prepare them to play a full and active part in society. I will encourage children to take an interest in political and social issues and to learn about democracy, government and how laws are made and upheld. Children will also be made aware of the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding.
What to do if I have a Prevent Duty concern
If I have a concern, I can contact the local police force or dial 101 (the non-emergency number) where I can talk in confidence about my concerns and gain access to support and advice.
The Department for Education has dedicated a telephone helpline (0207340 7264) to enable us to raise concerns relating to extremism directly.
Concerns can also be raised by email to:
Or to the confidential Counter Terrorist helpline on 0800 789 321
Locally, I can contact:
PC5602 Kate Tuckwell
In emergency situations, such as a child being at immediate risk of harm or a security incident, the emergency safe guarding procedures will be followed.