The Prevent Strategy
What is The Prevent Strategy?
Prevent is a government strategy designed to stop people supporting any extreme cause or becoming terrorists or supporting terrorist causes. The Prevent Strategy covers all types of terrorism and extremism, including the extreme right wing, violent groups and other causes.
How does the Prevent Strategy apply to St Thomas More Catholic Academy?
All schools have a duty to safeguard young people from radicalisation and extremism. This means we all have a responsibility to protect young people from extremist and violent views the same way we keep them safe through online safety education or protect them from drugs. Importantly, we can provide a safe place for pupils to discuss these issues so they learn how to protect themselves.
- Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism.
- Extremism is defined by the Government in the Prevent Strategy as 'Vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas'.
- o There is no such thing as a "typical extremist": those who become involved in extremist actions come from a range of backgrounds and experiences, and most individuals, even those who hold radical views, do not become involved in violent extremist activity.
- Extremism is defined by the Crown Prosecution Service as: 'The demonstration of unacceptable behaviour by using any means or medium to express views which:
- Encourage, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs;
- Seek to provoke others to terrorist acts;
- Encourage other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to serious criminal acts; or
- Foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.
- Students may become susceptible to radicalisation through a range of social, personal and environmental factors. It is known that violent extremists exploit vulnerabilities in individuals to drive a wedge between them and their families and communities. It is vital that school staff are able to recognise those vulnerabilities.
Indicators of vulnerability include
- Identity Crisis - the student / pupil is distanced from their cultural / religious heritage and experiences discomfort about their place in society;
- Personal Crisis - the student / pupil may be experiencing family tensions; a sense of isolation; and low self-esteem; they may have dissociated from their existing friendship group and become involved with a new and different group of friends; they may be searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging;
- Personal Circumstances - migration; local community tensions; and events affecting the student / pupil's country or region of origin may contribute to a sense of grievance that is triggered by personal experience of racism or discrimination or aspects of Government policy;
- Un-met Aspirations - the student / pupil may have perceptions of injustice; a feeling of failure; rejection of civic life;
- Experiences of Criminality - which may include involvement with criminal groups, imprisonment, and poor resettlement / reintegration;
- Special Educational Need - students / pupils may experience difficulties with social interaction, empathy with others, understanding the consequences of their actions and awareness of the motivations of others.
However, this list is not exhaustive, nor does it mean that all young people experiencing the above are at risk of radicalisation for the purposes of violent extremism.
More critical risk factors could include:
- Being in contact with extremist recruiters
- Accessing violent extremist websites, especially those with a social networking element
- Possessing or accessing violent extremist literature
- Using extremist narratives and a global ideology to explain personal disadvantage
- Justifying the use of violence to solve societal issues
- Joining or seeking to join extremist organisations
- Significant changes to appearance and/or behaviour
- Experiencing a high level of social isolation resulting in issues of identity crisis and/or personal crisis
How do we promote The Prevent Strategy?
Many of the things we already do at St Thomas More Catholic Academy and Sixth Form College, including the clear teaching of our Christian Values, help our children become positive, happy members of society. Our Personal Development curriculum and variety of school activities also contribute to the Prevent Strategy. At St Thomas More Catholic Academy and Sixth Form College we:
- Challenge prejudices and racist comments
- Learn about a variety of religions through our RE teaching
- Develop a strong, positive self-esteem for all pupils
- Promote the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils
- Promote British values such as democracy through our Personal Development curriculum and student leadership opportunities
We also protect young people 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 people. We educate students about the dangers of extremism and create a welcoming culture in which students can talk to staff if they are concerned about themselves or others.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is extremism really a risk in our area?
Yes, the internet reaches everywhere. Extremism can take many forms, including political or religious extremism. Extreme views are often promoted online and although our online safety teaching repeatedly shows children the dangers of talking to people whom they do not know in real life, extreme views are often spread gradually through on-line chat which at first appears harmless and friendly. Such forums can be very attractive to children anywhere whose self-esteem is not high, as they can be easily groomed to believe they are talking to similarly aged children, who may in fact be adults with a variety of dangerous motives for befriending children. These motives may include sexual predation or the spreading of an extremist viewpoint. We teach children ways to keep safe online and to protect them from any extremist views they may encounter, now or later in their lives.
How does Prevent relate to British values?
At St Thomas More, we promote British values, and this will continue to be part of our response to the Prevent Strategy. British Values include:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect
- Tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
How does this relate to St Thomas More Catholic Academy and Sixth Form College?
At St Thomas More Catholic Academy and Sixth Form College we are committed to upholding and giving students the opportunity to demonstrate the British values of democracy, individual liberty, the rule of law, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and those without faith. Students are able to explore these through our behaviour code based on our Christian values, assemblies, the Personal Development programme, extra-curricular opportunities and throughout other aspects of the curriculum.
These values are embedded within our Christian values. Through modelling and encouraging pupils to live these values we endeavour to enable pupils to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence. The school is committed to establishing a strong ethos supported by effective relationships throughout the school. All teachers aim to give students the opportunity to develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain.