A safe space

Schools should be a safe space where students can discuss social and political issues, including extremism and terrorism. Building their resilience will put them in a stronger position to reject extremist views.

You can build students’ resilience to extremist narratives by equipping them with the skills and knowledge to explore political and social issues critically, to weigh evidence, debate and make reasoned arguments.

This can include facilitating conversations about extremism and radicalisation in an age-appropriate way, as well as other social and political issues.

Another way that you can build resilience in your students is by promoting fundamental British values of:

  • Democracy
  • Rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs

The Department for Education has published advice on discussing fundamental British values as part of promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development of your students. You can find it here.

In the national curriculum programmes of study there are already lots of opportunities to cover the Fundamental British Values. For example, the Citizenship programme of study prepares pupils to take their place in society as responsible citizens, while the History curriculum helps pupils to gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world including the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups.

There are many resources available on this website, including lesson plans and multi-media resources, that can help you address issues relating to extremism and radicalisation sensitively and in an engaging and age-appropriate manner.

This includes material on the strengths, advantages and challenges of democracy, and how democracy and the law works in Britain compared to the types of government in other countries.

You could also show democracy in action by introducing a school council whose members are voted for by the students, and hold mock elections to promote fundamental British values. This would provide students with the opportunity to learn how to argue and defend points of view.

It’s important to discuss issues around identity, difference and tolerance. Subject associations will be well placed to advise on engaging ways to promote British values and teach tolerance.

Resources

Through a series of hard-hitting films of real people affected by radicalisation, Extreme Dialogue enables teachers to show young people all the faces of extremism. It equips young people to challenge extremism, helping them navigate core themes and questions using films, educational resources and training. Videos are accompanied by interactive presentations (Prezis). The downloadable resources are all modular and are informed by more than 20 years of research and experience in managing global and community conflict. The seven true stories include a mother whose son died fighting in Syria and a former member of a far-right terrorist group.

The No Love for Hate project aims to reduce the appeal of extremism to young people. It offers a positive alternative to the increasing pressure young people may feel from the world around them and the propaganda they may see online. It encourages pupils to be more accepting of others and to challenge hatred. Topics include hate crime, online risks, refugees, the rise of right-wing extremism and the push/pull factors of radicalisation. The resources are open access materials, including interactive Prezi presentations and Kahoot! quizzes, which can be adapted for different audiences.

A downloadable booklet for school leaders about how to safeguard against extremism in your school, produced by Educate Against Hate.

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.