By Jon Pedlar, former Prevent Education Officer and teacher
The Prevent duty was made statutory for all schools, academies and colleges in 2015 and is now an important feature of any safeguarding updates on INSET days.
Having been a teacher, and run INSET days on Prevent and countering extremism, and now as a Prevent Education Officer, these are a few ‘top tips’ on how to run an effective and memorable INSET day.
1. Utilise the Prevent team at your Local Authority
In certain areas, this will include a Prevent Education Officer (PEO) who can:
- deliver sessions
- provide up to date information on understanding the risk of radicalisation in your area
- provide Prevent awareness training for staff
- share successful ways of carrying out the duty in your school
- offer advice and guidance to senior leaders of risk assessments, due diligence and Ofsted Compliance
For Local Authorities without a PEO, do get in touch with the education branch of your Local Authority. Members of the safeguarding team will be able to assist with much of this.
This resource from the London Grid for Learning also provides a useful overview, and aims to empower staff to safeguard pupils as part of a whole-school approach to implementing the Prevent duty.
2. Think about what you already do
Adhering to the Prevent duty, and building resilience to extremism, doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel. There will be lots of the things the school already does. For example, promoting democracy through school council elections, or furthering understanding of religious tolerance through subjects such as RE.
All staff should have a working knowledge of the ways in which British values and Prevent are catered for in the school environment. This could be asking staff at an INSET, ‘how do we already safeguard against extremism or radicalisation’ and using their ideas to inform school policy on Prevent. This Hackney Toolkit is a useful guide to shared values in the classroom.
3. Make it school specific.
Prevent is designed to be bespoke to certain areas and settings, so explore local as well as national threats.
The Local Authority or Safer Schools police officer will be a good point of contact for this information. When I led an inset as a teacher, we mind-mapped potential risks to our cohort of students and then thought about ways to protect them by promoting resilience and sound judgement. Prevent Duty guidance is accessible here.
4. Develop dialogue.
One of the most effective ways of working out what is going on in young people’s lives is through conversation.
As individuals, we often have one of three instinctive responses to difficult questions or statements: freeze, flight or flock. When it comes to a young person, verbalising a thought or question for the first time, these three responses could do more harm than good. If we ignore or postpone the question, the young person may not think there was anything wrong with what they said. If we refer them straight away, they may feel uncomfortable about ever opening up again in the future. By opening up dialogue, connecting and affirming them as an individual, asking them to expand upon their statement/question, you can uncover more about what was said, its meaning and context. Below is a useful diagram that can practiced on an INSET day as an activity, with some staff playing students, and others playing teachers.
5. Involve parents
It might be a good idea to invite parents along for a part of the INSET day, so they can be made aware of the risks too. As a PEO, I often deliver online safety workshops to parents, and they’re often surprised at some of the online extremist content that is so easily accessible.
Some useful parent resources:
Parent Zone guide to Internet safety Prevent Myth Buster