What are radicalisation and extremism?
Schools have a responsibility to promote British values, including respect for law, democracy and for others, as well as SMSC Development. (spiritual, moral, social and cultural)
Within the teaching standards, the mandate includes: ‘Showing tolerance of and respect for the rights of others; not undermining fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs; [and] ensuring that personal beliefs are not expressed in ways which exploit pupils’ vulnerability or might lead them to break the law... An extremist outlook is not compatible with being a teacher.’
Extremism can be defined as holding extreme political views that stand in opposition to British Values (PDG, 2015). Radicalisation is a process by which an individual or group comes to adopt increasingly extreme political, social, or religious ideals and aspirations that forces them to reject or undermine the status quo or as well as expressions of freedom of choice. This goes against British Values, defined by the government as ‘the values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.’
A key part of our plan for education is to ensure children become valuable and fully rounded members of society who treat others with respect and tolerance, regardless of background… changes are designed to tighten up the standards on pupil welfare to improve safeguarding, and the standards on spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils to strengthen the barriers to extremism.
Preventing radicalisation and extremism
Our new prevent duty, is carried out under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, which legally requires us to take steps to prevent children & young people from being drawn into terrorism. We take this duty seriously and carry out the four main actions responsibly, namely:
- Risk assessment,
- Work in partnership with external agencies such as the Police and Social Services,
- Staff training
- IT and safeguarding policies.
Senior staff are trained in how to prevent radicalisation and policies are given to all staff. All staff are trained on the school’s ethos and core values and have a clear contract which all staff sign, ensuring that they deal with staff, children & young people and families with the uttermost respect. There is a rigorous selection process. The school is an Investors in People champion (Gold Standard) and our commitment to safeguarding extends to our staff and their wellbeing.
Children & young people, their carers and families
If we assess a child or family member is as at risk, we will refer to MASH, which focuses on providing support at an early stage to people who are identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. However, the school’s main focus is on prevention. Evidence of the promotion of SMSC and British Values is collected and the school’s work audited. Each daily schedule is embedded with these core values. Assemblies, festivals and other planned activities are all designed to promote spiritual, moral, social and cultural development as well as the core values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and tolerance. Bradstow School is also a Unicef Gold level: Rights Respecting accredited School having committed to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and these values underpin all our work.
The school is dedicated to providing a personalized learning and care experience for all children & young people and their families/carers. Where issues are raised, the family/carers are consulted and supported as necessary and the relevant authorities informed.
In terms of internet safety, we ensure suitable filters are in place to keep children & young people away from extremist materials, in keeping with Wandsworth guidelines.
All staff are legally bound to report any safeguarding concerns in order to protect the welfare of staff, children & young people and those around them. The designated safeguarding officers are Jo Cole-Biroth (Lead), Sarah Adams, Mike Kemlo, Tracey Kingston, Paul Gorham and Greg Edwards. Advice should always be sought if in doubt.
Signs to be aware of amongst staff, children & young people and family/carers include:
- A marked change in behaviour or attitude,
- Change in ideological beliefs,
- Signs of depression or anger,
- Other emotional signs.
Whilst this may amount to no cause for concern, reporting issues can allow the school to keep its commitment to supporting everyone in its community.