Preventing Extremism

Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremism.

These ideas can include violent far right views, animal rights activism, & religious fundamentalism.

They may also be about opposition to fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.

Protecting students from the risk of radicalisation is similar to protecting them from harm and abuse.

‘Prevent’ duty:

From 1 July 2015 all schools must have “due regard’ to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. This duty is expected to apply to sixth form colleges and FE colleges in the autumn.

The ‘Prevent’ duty does not stop students from debating controversial issues, or require staff to carry out unnecessary intrusion into family life.

Staff should always be alert to changes in student’s behaviour which could indicate that they may be in need of help or protection.

Factors that make a student vulnerable include:

  • Pressure from peers, other people or the internet
  • Crime against them or their involvement in crime
  • Anti-social behaviour and bullying
  • Family tensions
  • Race or hate crime
  • Lack of self-esteem or identity
  • Personal or political grievances

Schools should support students and staff by:

  • Discussing & challenging these ideas with students through the curriculum, debates, etc.
  • Ensure staff are aware of & use procedures for protecting & assessing students at risk
  • Build on local partnerships, policies & procedures of the Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board
  • Ensuring that the Designated Safeguarding Lead & Deputy (DSL/D) undertake ‘Prevent’ training (mandatory for DSL/D’s)
  • Ensuring the DSL/D provides briefings, awareness, advice and support to staff
  • Ensure that students are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in their education setting

Staff and volunteers in all agencies must make a referral to Children’s Social Care if they believe or suspect that a child is suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm, including possible exposure to radicalisation and extremist views.

If a student might be at risk:

  • You should inform your DSD/L immediately
  • The DSL/D will assess the needs of the student and their family through a Family Common Assessment (FCAF) if the concern is low level
  • The FCAF can then be used to request support through the Multi-Agency Support Teams (MAST) including access to the voluntary Channel programme
  • If the concern appears to be serious and/or immediate, the DSL/D will refer this immediately to Children’s Social Care (contact details can be found here)
  • If necessary, Children’s Social Care & the Police will hold a ‘Strategy Meeting’ to discuss the concerns & involve other services as required

The voluntary Channel programme assesses vulnerability using a framework built around:

  • Engagement with a group, cause or ideology
  • Intent to cause harm
  • Capability to cause harm.

For more information use the link above or here. MAST or Children’s Social Care can refer students to this programme once an assessment of need has been completed.

If you are a practitioner & need further advice, please contact:

Safeguarding Children Advisory Service

Mon–Fri, 9am – 5pm, tel. 2053535


Useful resources: