UK Government Prevent Strategy involving UK Schools.

John Bajina's picture
 4
Prevention of Terrorism and Radicalisation is now part of Safeguarding in Schools. The Government has dictated.We are told my school is in a Top Priority Red Zone. Being a responsible long serving School Governing Body, we accept this. Any right minded Governor will be deeply concerned at seeing the rise in both active and passive extreme right wing Extremism, active and passive extreme Jihadism and Terrorism. We accept we must all do our part.Theresa May appears to want to weaponised schools. She wants teachers to be her front line, anti-terror storm troopers. This raises profound worries. Of the many, I share a few.
Resources. Who is to pay for this additional burden? My school is struggling to make ends meet already.
Training. How are our teachers to convert from being good teachers to becoming radicalisation experts? In fairness, our local LA has issued guidance, however it is woefully simplistic, nothing more than could be picked up from reading the news.
Who is going to safeguard our Teachers? Intolerance, violent and unreasonable action are the hallmarks of Extremism. Now say a teacher does identify a child uttering White Supremacist or Jihadist rhetoric. They then reports this? Who will protect my teacher from a knee-jerk intolerant, unreasonable, violent physical or verbal backlash?
Abuse of the Prevent Responsibilities. I can report that this new responsibility has empowered one Head to line up three Asian young ladies and ask them why they ‘stick together’, are they planning on defection to IS, etc. The parents of the child reporting are reliable, I can vouch for them, and very naturally they do not wish to be identified.Lastly, what comes next? Having followed the progress of Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, some aspects and challenges to human rights alarm most of us. However, far more alarming was the general acceptance in open Parliament that there may well have to be further legislation should extremism continue. Even Keith Vaz, Chair of Home Office Select Committee and not normally given to over-reaction, regretfully accepted this.
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Comments

Janet Downs's picture
Sun, 03/05/2015 - 08:29

I too asked questions about Prevent in an earlier thread (see sidebar - first link). I've updated them here:

1Will all schools in future inspections be judged on whether they have engaged with Prevent?

2Or will this only apply to schools in certain places?

3If so, who will decide which areas will be targeted? The Education Secretary? Chief HMI? The Home Secretary? The Quilliam Foundation?

4If a school is already well-integrated and promoting community cohesion, should it be criticised if it didn’t engage with Prevent?

5If ex SoS Michael Gove and Home Secretary Teresa May can’t agree on how best to implement Prevent how can schools and local authorities decide the best course of action?

6Critics say the government’s broad counter-terrorism strategy which includes Prevent is “occasionally a clumsy one”, the FT revealed. “Preventing extremism may ironically work only with a much softer approach.” If schools share the critics’ view, should they be expected to engage with Prevent?

One such critic is Peter Oborne who described Prevent as “divisive”. In 2011 he said the government was muddled when it came to deciding who was a moderate and who was an extremist.

Janet Downs's picture
Sun, 03/05/2015 - 08:42

Not all LAs have been enthusiastic about Prevent (see sidebar - second link). Leicester, for example, was reluctant to engage with Labour's Prevent strategy. The City was worried its implementation would damage community ties. When it eventually engaged with Prevent, it renamed it 'Mainstreaming Moderation' focusing on all types of extremism not just Al'Qaeda.

When Teresa May relaunched Prevent, Leicester was again reluctant. Since 2012, however, it's been delivered by an inter-faith centre focusing on integration. But the new version of Prevent wants to split the strategy from community cohesion - this would be difficult in Leicester as the two are inter-linked.

Birmingham, however, did embrace Prevent. But it's in Birmingham that Prevent seems to have been less successful.

Andy V's picture
Sun, 03/05/2015 - 18:34

Heads warn Trojan Horse 'not gone away'

Head teachers at the [NAHT] conference complained that no governors had been barred as a result of the inquiries and they called for a database which would identify individuals removed from governing bodies.

Ms Hewitt-Clarkson told the head teachers' conference: "Trojan Horse has not gone away. Those of us who were involved, we knew it was the tip of the iceberg.
"We still have dead animals hung on the gates of schools, dismembered cats on playgrounds. We have petitions outside schools, objecting to teachers teaching against homophobia."

There were threats on social media, she said, such as "Any head teacher who teaches my children it's alright to be gay will be at the end of my shotgun."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-32573643

And it appears not a single 'rogue' governor banned from holding the position at a school.

All schools are accountable under the binding regulation on SMSC, Safeguarding and Behaviour and Safety, which are common to all schools in England.

John Bajina's picture
Wed, 06/05/2015 - 10:19

Shameful and depressing.


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