Terrorism and Extremism

Terrorism and extremism are sometimes used interchangeably. Both pose a threat to students but they have very distinct definitions.

Terrorism is an action or threat designed to influence the government or intimidate the public. Its purpose is to advance a political, religious or ideological cause. The current UK definition of terrorism is given in the Terrorism Act 2006.

In the UK we define terrorism as a violent action that:

  • Endangers a person’s life
  • Involves serious violence against a person
  • Causes serious damage to property
  • Creates a serious risk to the public’s health and safety
  • Interferes with or seriously disrupts an electronic system

But how does terrorism differ from extremism? The Counter Extremism Strategy 2015 says: “Extremism is the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and respect and tolerance for different faiths and beliefs. We also regard calls for the death of members of our armed forces as extremist.”

It’s important to remember that not all extremist groups, whether Islamist, far-right or other, will commit terrorist or violent acts. However, some groups pose particular threats, both online and offline.

Resources

This statutory guidance from the Department for Education should be read and followed by governing bodies of maintained schools and colleges, proprietors of independent schools (including academies and non-maintained special schools) and the management committees of pupil referral units. Schools and colleges must have regard to this guidance when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. It includes specific reference to preventing radicalisation on page 82 and advice on online safety at Annex C.

An interactive resource designed for Further Education students to build resilience to radicalisation. The resource consists of four separate e-learning modules focused on the themes of extremism, radicalisation and British values. The four modules are made up of a mixture of narrative videos, interactive quizzes and e-learning content. There are also video interviews with talking heads and FE students and animations. This is accompanied by a facilitator pack for staff, featuring lesson plans and activities related to the modules. Participants need to sign up and login to access resources so progress can be tracked.

Magistrates visit schools, colleges and community groups to discuss how our justice system works, including how verdicts and sentences are decided. Teams of magistrates give a presentation and discuss a range of topics, including how magistrates are appointed, what kind of cases they deal with, how guilt or innocence is decided and sentencing when guilt is established. The presentations are tailored to suit different audiences and requirements. These visits can support schools in promoting fundamental British values by giving students the opportunity to learn about and engage with the rule of law.

A link to quickly and anonymously report online material promoting terrorism or extremism. Anyone can report material such as: articles, images, speeches or videos that promote terrorism or encourage violence; content encouraging people to commit acts of terrorism; websites made by terrorist or extremist organisations; and videos of terrorist attacks. All referrals made through this tool go directly to the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit in the Metropolitan police for assessment and investigation. School staff may become aware of inappropriate content through students or through online monitoring software.