I hope you had a good weekend.  Let’s explore the PREVENT agenda this week.  We are tasked with introducing PREVENT to all students so let’s remind ourselves what is it? “’Prevent‘ is a government strategy aimed at stopping people being drawn into terrorism.”

It has 2 key elements, to Prevent Extremism and to Uphold British Values:

  • What is extremism?
    •  Vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values.
    • Also included in the definition of extremism is calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas.
  • What are British values?
    • Democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs.
    • Mutual respect and tolerance includes encouraging students to respect other people with particular regard to the nine protected characteristics of the Equality Act [2010]

On face value a good idea and talking about  these subjects can only help.  However all of the news stories are about controversy, intrusion, discrimination and poor management of PREVENT.  Please take a minute to read a few, understand the issues and use them to start the discussion with your learners.

In the news recently

The introduction of the Prevent duty within universities remains highly contentious
One of the UK’s most prestigious universities has warned students and staff that their emails may be retained and monitored as part of the government’s Prevent programme to stop radicalisation on campuses.

Two brothers, aged seven and five and of mixed Indian and Middle Eastern heritage, were questioned by uniformed officers after the school raised concerns they might be at risk of radicalisation.
A local education authority has admitted racially discriminating against two young boys and breaching their human rights when a school called the police after one of them told his teacher he had been given a toy gun as a present.

The government’s controversial Prevent counter-radicalisation strategy is to be toughened rather than scaled back despite criticism that it is a toxic brand and a “big brother” security operation among Britain’s Muslim communities.
Criticism of the four-year-old Prevent strategy, under which more than 8,000 people have been referred for possible inclusion in the anti-radicalisation programme, has intensified in recent months

I did try to find some positives to balance these but have been unsuccessful so far.  Maybe this is one of the strategies that can only be measured by a reduction in “bad news” stories?