What is the Prevent Strategy?
Prevent is a government strategy designed to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorist or extremist causes. The Prevent strategy covers all types of terrorism and extremism, including the extreme right wing, violent Islamist groups and other causes.
From July 2015, all schools (as well as other organisations) have a duty to safeguard children from radicalisation and extremism. This means that at St Mary's, we have a responsibility to protect children from extremist and violent views the same way we protect them from drugs or gang violence. Importantly, we can provide a safe place for pupils to discuss these issues so they better understand how to protect themselves.
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 other cultures and religions and promoting diversity
- Challenging prejudices and racist comments
- Developing critical 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.
At St Mary's, we will also protect children from the risk of radicalisation, for example by using filters on the internet to make sure they can’t access extremist and terrorist material, or by vetting visitors who come into school to work with pupils. Different schools will carry out the Prevent duty in different ways, depending on the age of the children and the needs of the community.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does Prevent Relate to British Values?
Like all schools, we have been required to promote British Values since 2014, and this continues to be a part of our response to the Prevent Strategy.
Isn’t my child too young to learn about extremism?
The Prevent Strategy is not just about discussing extremism itself, which may not be appropriate for our younger children. It is also about teaching children values such as tolerance and mutual respect. At St Mary's, we are careful to make sure that any discussions are suitable for the age and maturity of the children involved.
Is extremism really a risk in our area?
Whilst we don’t believe that extremism is a direct threat in out school, we are of course mindful that it can take many forms, including political, religious and misogynistic extremism. Some of these may be a bigger threat in our area than others. What we hope to do at St Mary's, is to give our children the skills to protect themselves from any extremist views they may encounter, now or later in their lives.
To find out more, please visit the government information via their website.