Prevent: is it working?

Prevent: is it working?

Posted on Jul 07, 2017

Prevent: is it working?



When we hear that children as young as nine are being branded terrorists – as The Independent revealed last week – it does make you wonder.

Since July 2015 it has been compulsory for all education institutions to help prevent pupils and learners being drawn into terrorism by actively following the Prevent duty.


What exactly is Prevent?

Prevent is part of ‘Contest’ – the government’s counter-terrorism strategy.

It’s specifically designed to identify and support those who are at risk of being drawn into extremism and/or terrorism.

Prevent was set up over a decade ago when Labour were in power, and was renewed with increased scope soon after the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats were in coalition together in 2011.

Andy Burnham, the recently elected Greater Manchester mayor, said last week that he is looking to replace Prevent in the area.

Specifically, he said: ‘Prevent, as it’s currently configured, will only take you so far. There has been a feeling of disengagement because of the way it goes about its work. We’re saying that can’t be allowed to carry on. It will only succeed if there’s true community buy-in at grassroots level, and the information comes that way.’


But that’s not the first that’s been heard of scrapping the current scheme…


The Guardian reported last year that the Liberal Democrats wanted to scrap Prevent and replace the term ‘British values’ with ‘universal democratic values’.

The same piece also said that Parliament’s home affairs select committee has stated that Prevent has become ‘too toxic within communities to work effectively’.

In fact, we covered last year that there are some within education who feel that Prevent creates confusion or is inappropriate, whilst Ofsted have said that many institutions are still leaving students at risk of radicalisation and extremism.


That’s a lot of negative opinion about Prevent… is there anything positive?

Some of the criticism that has been levelled at Prevent is that it disproportionately targets Islamists – in some cases it has drawn accusations of persecution. Dianne Abbott recently said that ‘there has been a sense in the Islamic community in the past that Prevent and counter-terrorism strategy generally was targeted on them.’

However, Prevent is targeted at all forms of extremism, and in some parts of the UK – such as some areas in north-west England – far-right referrals outweigh the Islamist ones.

This shows evidence that Prevent is addressing the matter in an equal and non-biased manner.

The BBC recently reported that the most recent data shows 7,500 referrals are made each year – or 20 per day – and that in only 37% of these cases was no action taken.

So that’s roughly 12 people a day that are being ‘caught’ by the Prevent Duty net, which appears to be pretty successful.


So what’s the way forward?

It does seem increasingly likely that reform of the Prevent duty may be necessary. Rightly or wrongly, there are negative connotations associated with it and it does appear that some communities hold a mistrust towards it that may not be reversible.

It’s possible that Andy Burnham’s proposals for the Manchester area could foreshadow the national agenda if they are successful.

Burnham does recognise ‘some success’ for Prevent but thinks there is a lack of engagement at ‘grassroots’ level: ‘It’s about resetting Prevent, or making it work better, and for me it will only work if you’ve got that buy-in at a community grassroots level. That buy-in is lacking at the moment.’

In the meantime – and for the foreseeable future – it remains a legal obligation for education institutions to promote and follow Prevent.


Train your staff and your students

There are two prevention of radicalisation e-learning courses available to you as part of the flick subscription.


Prevention of Radicalisation training

The first course, aimed not just at teachers and education-based workers, but any other frontline staff too, has been reviewed and vetted by HM Government and is included in the Home Office Prevent Training Catalogue 2016.


Prevention of Radicalisation teaching tool for students

The second course is an informative and flexible teaching tool, suitable for students and pupils of secondary school age and upwards. It’s designed for use as part of a blended learning solution to be delivered alongside classroom discussion.


How do I get access to this?

Subscribing with flick offers access not only to prevention of radicalisation training, but to over 40 flick courses – plus downloadable guides and resources in the flick library.

Prices can start at just £10 per user and reduce greatly with bulk user discounts – and even further if bought on an annual basis.

So, why not sign up today?


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