The TV series Hollyoaks has recently been praised for its approach to a far-right extremist storyline. The series is known for addressing difficult topics that affect young people today, so the move to look into online radicalisation and the draw of the far-right was a natural step. Hollyoaks worked with organisations like Small Steps, who focus on combating far-right extremism and hate crime, to look at the type of young people who might be vulnerable to far-right narratives, what leads them down that path and why this messaging can sound so appealing.
The show touched on factors including personal grievances and difficulty at home to show how a young person can become more vulnerable to extremist narratives. Often not having the right outlet to express their feelings can result in them looking to others for support and sometimes finding extremists are the only open ears.
By creating a safe space in your classroom where students feel they can have these conversations you can make a big difference to a young person’s experience, as well as helping you spot the signs that a young person might be being radicalised online.
We’ve put together some useful resources that can help you explore this topic further with your students:
Extreme Dialogue – Daniel Gallant: Personal stories are a good way to engage students in difficult topics. This film and lesson plan for 14-18 year olds centres around a man recruited into a right-wing extremist network.
Faith in Us: Information and activity ideas for all ages to support teachers to educate young people about Islamophobia.
Teaching Controversial Issues Toolkit: A downloadable framework developed by Suffolk SACRE which can help you hold discussions about difficult topics in the classroom.
The importance of media literacy: A blog post from Prevent Education Officer Jake Butterworth, looking into how we can encourage media literacy and critical thinking in the classroom.
For further support and practical tools for safeguarding, visit our Teachers’ Hub.