The Prevent Duty: What you need to know

November 28, 2015 12:24 pm
Please follow and like us:
Visit Us
Follow Me

Earlier this year, education secretary Nicky Morgan launched Educate Against Hate, a new website aimed at both teaching and support staff to help them spot potential signs of extremism and radicalisation affecting children aged 5 years and under.

This measure is in accordance with the Prevent Duty, which was created in July 2015 to provide nurseries and childminders with as much information as possible so that they can safeguard children at risk of propaganda and religious subordination.

Why has it been created?

The Prevent Duty was created to make sure that those most vulnerable are not exposed to extremist views that they cannot yet understand. This can happen at home and in education, recognizing that young children are extremely susceptible to biased belief systems that have been passed to them by others.

By providing a legal framework, the Prevent Duty enables those who work within nurseries to safely report incidents and behaviours so that the process does not negatively affect either the reputation of the nursery worker or the nursery involved.

How does it affect nurseries and childminders?

Amidst fears that the age at which children are becoming radicalised is becoming younger and younger, the Prevent Duty realises that nursery workers hold a strong bond with both the children in their care and their parents.

In recognition of this relationship, nursery workers are being encouraged to look for any clues that could indicate that a child is being radicalised in the hope that the problem can be eradicated before they start primary school.

What do I need to do?

Staff should already be aware of the introduction of British Values into the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, where the principles of democracy,  liberty and respect towards other cultures are introduced to children as fundamental values which challenge the negative values advocated by religious fundamentalists.

In addition to this, the Prevent Duty encourages early years practitioners to look out for behavioural changes, for example, if a child is acting more aggressive, withdrawn or outspoken about their newly acquired beliefs.

Signs can also be spotted in siblings or other family members, for example, if children appear to hide the views they have been taught as they may have been told not to share them, in addition to lengthy absences or openly prejudiced comments towards other faiths or nationalities.

What can I do if I’m concerned about a child?

If a nursery believes that a child is at risk of being radicalised they can make a referral to the government’s Channel programme, which provides support to those who have been identified as vulnerable to extremism.

There’s also the option of contacting your local authorities, as some high-risk areas will already have Prevent coordinators available with specialist knowledge that enables them to work with local communities and schools.

A dedicated telephone helpline (020 7340 7264) also exists which has been created by the Department for Education which enables staff to raise their concerns about extremism and receive advice about how to approach the situation going forward.

Where can I find more information?

Nursery Resources offer Prevent Duty documents for early years settings and childminders to make sure that staff are aware of their responsibilities and the appropriate actions to take. Our Prevent Duty document packs help childcare providers understand what they can do to protect children from radicalisation.

Nursery Resources also offer a range of printed materials regarding issues related to extremism including the updated statutory guidance on female genital mutilation (FGM).