Back in 2015, a duty was created under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act putting a statutory duty on FE providers to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.’ It was called the Prevent duty.
All staff within further education (FE) institutions need to be aware of the Prevent duty and their obligations under it – and support staff are no exception.
If you’re not entirely aware of your Prevent duty responsibilities, or simply need a recap, the Further Education and Training Foundation (ETF) website shares valuable information to help you to ensure compliance. Here’s what you need to know.
Requirements of the Prevent duty
As we’ve mentioned, the Prevent duty requires college staff to be aware of the need to stop people from being drawn into terrorism and extremism. The guidance specifically asks that:
- Institutions encourage students to respect one another, especially with regard to the protected characteristics listed in the Equality Act 2010.
- Staff members exemplify British values in their management, student interactions and general behaviours. British values are defined as ‘democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.’
- Staff and board members undertake training of the duty as specified by leaders and managers including the head teacher.
- Staff know when it is appropriate to refer to duty-related concerns around students or colleagues to the safeguarding officer.
- Staff challenge extremism – this is defined in the guidance as ‘vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.’
Prevent duty training
A range of free online training modules tailored to FE have been developed by the ETF to ensure that all college staff (including support staff), governors and board members are appropriately trained on the Prevent duty and are aware of their responsibilities in relation to it.
Completing the course takes around 50 minutes – that includes the training module and assessment. Pass with a mark of 85% or above and you’ll get to print off a Foundation certificate in recognition of your achievement. Support staff can access the course here, but bear in mind that you'll need to set up an account first.
Aside from EFT training, the Home Office has developed a Prevent e-Learning training module which focuses on supporting vulnerable people.
You should be able to access support if you need it from your college, too. Your college should have a designated Prevent Officer who you can speak with if you have any concerns – this may be the same person as your college’s Safeguarding Officer.
Tutorial and pastoral materials
Students as well as staff need to be educated on issues addressed in the Prevent duty. There are a wealth of resources staff can use to educate learners, as well as modules learners can undertake to develop their understanding of things like radicalisation, online safety and British values. Some of them include:
- The ETF’s Side by Side module for learners, which covers four modules and will issue them with a certificate upon passing.
- The British Council’s resource pack, which includes activities for learners as well as useful guidance for staff.
- Getting On Together's countering extremism course, which has useful videos within its resource materials and encourages class discussion.
- The Met Police’s Safe website, where students can find information on extremism and find out what to do if they are concerned about a friend or family member.
In a research report published last year by the DfE, which looks at Prevent and counter-extremism in general FE colleges, the body concludes that the implementation of the duty has led to additional measures being enforced to ensure the safeguarding of learners both in and outside of colleges.
Though there’s a clear lack of theoretical understanding of extremism or radicalisation among students, they have demonstrated a capacity to identify issues and are willing to report concerns to staff, meaning that issues can be investigated and dealt with appropriately.
There remain barriers in effectively implementing the Prevent duty, such as low learner engagement and lack of confidence. However, what’s promising is that staff, including support staff, stress that they are taking safeguarding extremely seriously and strive to comply with their responsibilities in relation to the Prevent duty.
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