In June 2015, the Department for Education (DfE) published new guidance on ‘The Prevent duty’ which prescribes new legal responsibilities on all schools in the UK. The Prevent duty is part of our wider safeguarding duties to protect children from harm. In particular, the Prevent duty requires our school to assess the risk of our pupils being drawn into radicalisation and extremism, and it requires our school staff to be able to identify and respond to children who are vulnerable to radicalisation.
The DfE’s guidance defines radicalisation as “the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism”. It defines extremism 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”.
It is important to remember that these definitions do not only apply to one religious or political stand-point and can, in fact, apply to all political and religious stand-points that are imposed upon others, or oppose the fundamental British values, to extreme or fanatical levels.