Radicalisation within our schools

We all have a vital role to play in fostering awareness and an understanding of the risk of radicalisation within our schools.  I have come to the conclusion that as school leaders we can be easily daunted by this task. A lack of understanding about how we can work to protect our young people from this type of harm is acting as a stumbling block. In reality it is relatively straight forward to adapt our existing procedures to deal with this.

At Sittingbourne Community College we began by initiating a drive to further educate students about discriminatory language. Discussions and meetings with students revealed that this was something of a 'hidden' issue; students would frequently use discriminatory language conversationally without realising they were doing so.

We ensured that discrimination, prejudice and diversity were taught to all students and devised a form very similar to our safeguarding incident form that would allow us to identify those students who were using discriminatory language. Once identified it was then possible to complete educational, 1:1 or small group work based around issues such as racism, homophobia, sexism, disability and religious discrimination.

Following on from the introduction of this work, every member of staff, including caretakers and Governors, completed the Channel Awareness training so that they were able to spot signs of radicalisation and felt confident enough to report any concerns.

I think it is essential to give a member of staff the responsibility of leading on the Prevent Strategy. This person will make all the necessary links with external agencies that are so vital to the success of Prevent. Effective professional relationships further minimise risk and there is help and support through the police force and Prevent Strategy Leads who are very willing to support with this work.

Online monitoring of student internet activity is a crucial element of awareness; such monitoring should, if possible, take place on at least a fortnightly basis. Individual student reports are run and analysed by trained staff. Any activity that gives cause for alarm is acted upon. Parents have also been made aware of the strategy and we are currently working with them to raise their awareness of internet safety.

Through the Prevent Strategy and the way we have introduced it into school, we aim to ensure that our students recognise and feel protected from discrimination, extremism and radicalisation. In this way, they will be equipped with the moral values and understanding necessary to allow them to take their place as responsible citizens of a local, national and global community.

If anyone would like to discuss our work in this area we are very happy to share our documentation and support in its implementation. Please contact either myself or our Prevent Lead on the emails below.

Fiona Trigwell

Headteacher Sittingbourne Community College

Email: Fiona.trigwell@sittingbourne.kent.sch.uk / Andrew.ball@sittingbourne.kent.sch.uk

This article was originally posted here: http://www.kelsi.org.uk/news-and-events/news/primary/radicalisation-within-our-schools. 

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