Extremism and Radicalisation
SAFEGUARDING PUPILS FROM EXTREMISM AND RADICALISATION
In response to recommendations in the Peter Clark report on schools in Birmingham, the Department of Education (DfE) has recently has increased its capacity and expertise in counter – extremism, through an expansion of its Due Diligence and Counter Extreme Group (DDCEG), of which Rosemary Pratt has been appointed the Director.
I am writing to draw your attention to some of the support available to schools to help them safeguard pupils from the risks of extremism and radicalisation. These risks have been brought into sharp focus by recent reports of school age children travelling to Syria. You may be aware that DfE is carrying out a review of schools where we have evidence of links to people who may have travelled to Syria and I also thought it would be helpful to explain something about the purpose of the review.
Schools have a vital role to play in protecting pupils from the risks of extremism and radicalisation, a role which will be underpinned by the new duty in the Counter – Terrorism and Security Act 2015 “to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”, due to come into force 1st July 2015. Keeping children safe from these risks is a safeguarding matter and is approached in the same way as safeguarding children from other risks.
We nevertheless recognise that we need advice and support to carry out effective counter-extremist work. In the first instance we would seek help from the local authority and police. Local authorities are vital to all aspects of Prevent work and it is the role of the Local Safeguarding Children Board to coordinate what is done by local agencies for the purpose of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in their local area. In some priority local authority areas, Home Office fund dedicated Prevent coordinators to work with communities and organisations, including schools.
Parents who have concerns about their children may look to Epinay Business and Enterprise School as a trusted source of advice on who to keep their children safe from these risks. In addition to materials produced by local authorities and the police – such as the new “Prevent Tragedies” online campaign launched by the Police (www.preventtragedies.co.uk) there are online resources produced by civil society groups which provide valuable advice, for example ‘Families Matter’ (www.familiesmatter.org.uk), (run by Families Against Stress and Trauma). Parents and carers may wish to use these resources. If parents have any difficulty they can contact school who will provide individual support.
As part of the increased support that DDCEG is able to provide for schools a dedicated telephone helpline to enable school staff and governors to raise concerns relating to extremism directly and in confidence. Special Branch Northumbria Police 01661 863108 Ext 63108 or Mobile Sharon Ross 07764978181. Please note that the helpline is not intended for emergency situations, such as a child being at immediate risk of harm or a security incident. In these situations normal procedures should be followed. School/Parents should contact the police immediately. The school has a policy on Extremism and Radicalisation which is available for parents and carers.