Why extremism is relevant

Teachers play an important role in keeping children and young people safe. They are in a key position to protect them from the dangers of extremist narratives.

You do an invaluable job in protecting students from drug abuse, gangs, neglect and sexual exploitation. Radicalisation has a similarly devastating effect on young people, families and communities. Helping to protect students from extremist and radicalising influences is an important part of your overall safeguarding role.

Children and young people are particularly vulnerable to radicalisation. Many teenagers look for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging, and are in search of adventure and excitement. Extremist groups, whether Islamist, far-right or other, claim to offer the answers and promise vulnerable young people a sense of identity. Though instances are rare, even very young children may be exposed to extremism, both inside and outside the home, or online.

Many young people also spend a lot of time online which exposes them to additional risks. Extremist groups’ use of internet and social media has become a prolific way for them to spread their ideology.

It’s important to ensure your classroom is a safe space, where ideas and controversial issues can be discussed freely and openly. Encouraging such activities will help students challenge extremist arguments, by equipping them with skills and knowledge to explore political and social issues critically, to weigh evidence, debate and make reasoned arguments.

Resources

A downloadable booklet for teachers about how to increase your pupils’ resilience to extremism, produced by Educate Against Hate.

Statutory guidance for local authorities and agencies working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in their care. The Children Acts of 1989 and 2004 set out specific duties of the local authority to undertake enquiries if they believe a child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm. These duties can only be discharged with the full co-operation of other partners and other agencies. Everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play and this advice sets out clearly the principles and key areas of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.

A framework to facilitate classroom discussions in the event of a terrorist attack.

A guide for schools about the use of social media to radicalise young people online. The document particularly covers the ways social media is used to encourage travel to Syria and Iraq and includes a short summary of some of the main Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) propaganda claims, identifies social media sites which ISIL is using and advises what actions schools and teachers should take to protect pupils.