Safeguarding pupils who are vulnerable to extremism; the Prevent duty
The Academy’s Prevent strategy
As part of Oasis Academy Henderson Avenue's ongoing safeguarding and child protection duties we are fully behind the government's Prevent Strategy. All staff have received the official Home Office WRAP training from the Local Safeguarding Children's Board on what Prevent is about and how to deal with any issues they may see inside or outside the Academy.
In addition, through the Oasis’ ethos, values and behaviour policy, the Academy provides a platform to ensure children are given the support to respect themselves and others, and understand their role as a local and global citizen, being aware of the potential issues they face.
The Prevent strategy aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. While it remains rare for children to become involved in terrorist activity, the Academy recognises some, from an early age can be exposed to terrorist & extremist influences or prejudiced views. As with other forms of safeguarding strategies, early intervention is always preferable.
In line with fundamental British Values and the Oasis ‘9 Habits’ the Academy values inclusion, tolerance and the freedom of speech and the expression of beliefs / ideology as fundamental rights underpinning healthy communities in which the Academy is based. Both pupils and teachers have the right to speak freely and voice their opinions.
However, freedom comes with responsibility and free speech that is designed to manipulate the vulnerable or that leads to violence and harm of others goes against the moral principles in which freedom of speech is valued. Free speech is subject to treating others with respect, understanding differences, equality, an awareness of human rights, community safety and community cohesion.
The Academy is committed to working with the local authority and other local partners, families and communities to play a key role in ensuring young people and our communities are safe from the threat of terrorism.
Oasis Academies seek to protect children and young people against the messages of all violent extremism including, but not restricted to, those linked to Islamist ideology, or to Far Right / Neo Nazi / White Supremacist ideology, Irish Nationalist and Loyalist paramilitary groups, and extremist Animal Rights movements.
The Principal and the Designated Safeguarding Lead will assess the level of risk within the Academy and put actions in place to reduce that risk. Actions will include consideration of the school’s RE curriculum, PSHE curriculum, SEND policy, assembly content. Risk assessment will include the use of school premises by external agencies, integration of pupils by gender and SEN, anti-bullying policy and other issues specific to the Academy’s profile, community and the Oasis ethos.
There is no single way of identifying an individual who is likely to be susceptible to a terrorist/radical ideology. As with managing other safeguarding risks, all Academy staff are 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. Staff are advised to use their professional judgement in identifying children who might be at risk of radicalisation and act proportionately.
The Academy recognises that the Prevent duty does not require teachers to carry out unnecessary intrusion into family life but as with any other safeguarding risk, they must take action when they observe behaviour of concern. Some of the indicators Academy staff look out for include:
- Vulnerability: identity crisis, personal crisis, migration, unmet aspirations and history of criminality
- Access to extremist influences: through friendship groups, internet activity, activities broad i.e. military camps, child vocalising support of illegal or extremist/militant groups
- Experiences and influences: social rejection, personal impact from civil unrest and wide spread media coverage of international events, change in appearance and behaviour, family conflict over religious reviews, verbal or written evidence of support for terrorist activities
- Travel: pattern of travel regular extended travel, evidence of falsifying identity documents, consideration of unexplained absences
- Social factors: disadvantaged background, lack of empathy and /or affinity with others, severe learning difficulties or mental health, is the child a foreign national or refugee, experience of trauma or sectarian conflict, extremist views of a significant other.
The Academy will identify a Prevent Single Point of Contact (SPOC) who will be the lead within the Academy for safeguarding in relation to protecting individuals from radicalisation and involvement in terrorism: this will normally be the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
When any member of staff has concerns that a pupil may be at risk of radicalisation or involvement in terrorism, they should speak with the SPOC and/or the Designated Safeguarding Lead (if this is not the same person) and record the concerns.
If there is a concern that a young person is being radicalised or at risk of being drawn into terrorism refer to Children’s Services as with any other safeguarding concern.
Numerous factors can contribute to and influence the range of behaviours that are defined as violent extremism, but most children or young people do not become involved in extremist action. For this reason, the appropriate interventions in any particular case may not have any specific connection to the threat of radicalisation, for example they may address mental health, relationship or drug/alcohol issues.
The Academy will ensure that the DSL and SPOC (if different) will complete relevant, up-to-date training and that this training will be cascaded to staff as part of the annual CPD training programme, this will be the responsibility of the DSL/SPOC.