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Education sector makes further moves to combat extremism

Government announces 'co-ordinated response' to safeguarding issues in schools

Posted by Stephanie Broad | January 19, 2016 | Technology

In a speech at Bethnal Green Academy today, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan discussed the impact of ‘extremist ideology’ on young people, announcing a new website Educate Against Hate. The website offers parents, teachers and school leaders advice and resources to protect children from extremism.

Morgan said that schools play a ‘key role’ in spotting the signs of radicalisation.

“Schools can pick up those behavioural changes which may signal that a student is being radicalised before their peers or even their parents have spotted them,” she said.

“That is why it is so important that schools see protecting children from radicalisation as part of their safeguarding duties. I know that the vast majority of staff in schools do this already and want to play their part.

“And I want Educate Against Hate to become a tool that helps them do that.

It provides up-to-date, practical advice that will help heads and governors understand the procedures their school should have in place to robustly tackle the threat, and will help teachers facing these issues in the classroom to understand radicalisation, its warning signs, and crucially where they can get further support.

“Further resources, particularly those that help teachers to build children’s critical thinking skills, will be added over the coming months.” 

The government’s Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015, which became law in July 2015, means schools now have direct responsibility to, ‘prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. The Prevent strategy applies to maintained and independent schools, and to children of all ages.

Cllr Roy Perry, Chairman of the Local Government Association's Children and Young People Board, said: "Councils work closely with their maintained schools to ensure that any child missing from school or thought to be at risk of radicalisation are quickly identified and supported.

"Ensuring all academies and free schools understand their mandatory responsibilities to work with their local council in helping to combat this issue is paramount. Councils have the statutory responsibility to safeguard all children and need to work closely with all schools no matter what their legal status. Any school that is no longer council maintained must acknowledge this duty and work with their council accordingly.

"Unregistered schools are illegal and in some areas are increasingly becoming an issue.  With councils being squeezed out of education provision, they have no jurisdiction to enter a premises unless there is a serious safeguarding concern. However, gaining entry to these establishments once a problem is reported is extremely difficult and councils need more powers to ensure children's safety."

Technology suppliers are also working to help educators monitor pupils’ internet use. Impero Software recently partnered with Hope not Hate to develop and refine their radicalisation keyword glossary. 

Nicky Morgan will be speaking at Bett 2016, tomorrow. The four-day event is once again set to provide education professionals with an opportunity to see, touch and test the latest and most groundbreaking technologies, providing them with a taste of how these can be used to revolutionise learning.

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