Think Global is calling for greater balance in the support given to schools to implement the new Prevent duty, to protect children from the risk of radicalisation.
Since the introduction of the Prevent duty in July 2015, schools – with their safe environments and educational expertise – are required to help young people to build resilience to extremism. At Think Global we believe that quality global learning is a crucial element of this.
Tom Franklin, Chief Executive of Think Global, commented,
Teachers are telling us that Prevent is currently unbalanced, and as a result is in danger of being counter-productive. We’re launching a survey of teachers today, to find out more about how they are experiencing this duty, and what help they need.
In order to prevent young people from coming under the influence of extremist groups, we believe schools need to support them to develop an understanding of key global issues, the skills to think critically, and the ability to make informed decisions about their actions and the consequences of their behaviour. Too much emphasis has been put on the need for schools to monitor the behaviour of children, which creates a culture of fear. This is distracting teachers from teaching and is ultimately counter-productive. Instead we are calling for a greater focus on developing the agency of our young people, allowing our teachers to creatively teach about global issues and open up our schools as safe spaces for meaningful dialogue about extremism.
The Prevent duty includes specific reference to guidance for safeguarding children against the risks of extremism, with a particular emphasis on the safe use of the internet. These practical duties should be taken seriously by schools in line with any other safeguarding issue. However, we are calling for the emphasis of Prevent to be focussed on empowering young people to thrive in a globalised world. Young people need to connect with global issues, develop their understanding of the multiple causes and effects of conflict and understand the interdependence of their world. They need the skills to think critically and the opportunity to develop a resilient, inquiring attitude. They need the safe space to explore their ideas and concerns without judgement.
If we are asking our schools and our teachers to engage with the Prevent agenda we should be putting the emphasis on teaching. It is only through supporting our children to become informed and engaged global citizens that we can really equip them to reject extremism.
Here at Think Global, with the help of our teacher community, it is our aim to support teachers to develop good global learning to meet the Prevent duty. We’re asking all teachers to complete our short survey to tell us about their experiences of Prevent: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/schoolspreventduty.
For more information about our work on Prevent, please contact our Head of Programmes, Sarah Williams.