Malicious letters- advice for schools
You may have heard in the media this weekend about letters being sent to people regarding a so- called ‘punish a Muslim day’ on April 3rd. There have also been reports of the letters being circulated on social media such as Snapchat. Counter Terrorism
Policing North East are investigating the matter and have issued the following statement,
"Over the past few days a number of letters have been reported across the UK in the form of letters that have been sent to unnamed individuals. We have been aware of these letters since Friday 9 March and have been working with the council and other
groups to ensure any letters are collected so we can fully investigate this. The letters intend to cause fear and offence. Police understand that to receive one can be extremely upsetting and we are working hard to identify who is responsible. If you do receive
post that is threatening or abusive please stop people touching it, place the envelope and letter in a clear plastic bag and contact the local police on 101 with as much detail as possible".
It will help defeat the perpetrators’ malicious intentions if we avoid giving the issue the oxygen of publicity but If
you have any particular concerns from pupils and parents that you would like advice on, please feel free to contact me on 01274 437770/ 07870991647.
Bradford Prevent Education Officer
Prevent Strategy 2011
If you have a safeguarding concern it is essential you use the link below to access the Prevent Referral Form.
The form also offers guidance with contact numbers for support.
For further information please contact:
Michael Churley, Prevent Coordinator
T: 01274 432816
Danielle King, PREVENT Education Officer
T: 01274 437770
Diversity and Cohesion
T: 01274 439379
What is Prevent?
Prevent is part of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST. Its aim is to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Prevent
will address all forms of terrorism but continue to prioritise according to current threat levels. It’s about minimising the risk of people supporting extremist ideologies which espouse violence and terrorism. As such Prevent is an early intervention
tool most commonly in the form of education, dialogue and mentoring, aiming to reduce the likelihood of terrorist or other violent actions in the future.
Prevent is just one of four elements which make up the Government’s Counter Terrorism Strategy comprising of four key elements:
- Pursue: to stop terrorist attacks
- Protect: to strengthen our physical infra-structure against a terrorist attack, and
- Prepare: to mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack
- Prevent: to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.
Prevent can be seen as separate from the other three elements in that it operates in the ‘non-criminal’ space; a prevention tool to reduce the numbers of people who may consider criminal acts. In an educational context Prevent is a safeguarding issue for
schools aimed at supporting and protecting children and young people who are vulnerable and at risk of being radicalised. Prevent is about ensuring that they are diverted away before any crime is committed and described as a long term solution to the current
threat of extremism. Within the overall framework the new Prevent strategy will specifically:
• respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat we face from those who promote it;
• prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support; and
• work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation which we need to address.
These areas of work are outlined in detail in The Prevent Strategy para 3.21 on page 7.
NEW Duty for Schools – 1 July 2015
Prevent duty guidance:
On 1 July 2015 the Prevent duty (section 26) of The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 comes into force. This duty places the responsibility on local authorities to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.
Whilst Ofsted are undertaking the single inspections they will evaluate how effectively local authorities are meeting the
Prevent duty in relation to safeguarding children.
Statutory guidance issued under section 29 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015.
Section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (the Act) places a duty on certain bodies (“specified authorities” listed in Schedule 6 to the Act), in the exercise of their functions, to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being
drawn into terrorism”. This guidance is issued under section 29 of the Act.
Bradford is one of 46 priority areas under this Act and all schools including those in early years are required to have ‘due regard’ in the exercise of its functions, to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. Preventing people becoming
terrorists or supporting terrorism also requires challenge to extremist ideas where they are used to legitimise terrorism and are shared by terrorist groups.
The government has defined extremism in the Prevent strategy 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. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members
of our armed forces”.
Our Prevent work is intended to deal with all kinds of terrorist threats to the UK. The most significant of these threats is currently from Al Qa’ida associated groups and from other terrorist organisations in Syria and Iraq. But terrorists associated
with the extreme right also pose a continued threat to our safety and security.
There are three themes throughout the sector-specific guidance, set out later in this document:
effective leadership, working in partnership and appropriate capabilities.
For all specified authorities, we expect that those in leadership positions:
- establish or use existing mechanisms for understanding the risk of radicalisation;
- ensure staff understand the risk and build the capabilities to deal with it;
- communicate and promote the importance of the duty; and
- ensure staff implement the duty effectively.
Working in partnership
Prevent work depends on effective partnership. To demonstrate effective compliance with the duty, specified authorities must demonstrate evidence of productive co-operation, in particular with local
Prevent co-ordinators, the police and local authorities, and co-ordination through existing multi-agency forums, for example Community Safety Partnerships.
Frontline staff who engage with the public should understand what radicalisation means and why people may be vulnerable to it. They need to be aware of what we mean by the term “extremism” and the relationship between extremism and terrorism. Staff need
to know what measures are available to prevent people from becoming drawn into terrorism and how to challenge the extremist ideology that can be associated with it. They need to understand how to obtain support for people who may be being exploited by radicalising
influences. All specified authorities subject to the duty will need to ensure they provide appropriate training for staff involved in the implementation of this duty. Such training is now widely available.
Monitoring and enforcement
Where a specified body is not complying with the duty, the Prevent Oversight Board may recommend that the Secretary of State use the power of direction under section 23 of the Act. This power would only be used when other options for engagement
and improvement had been exhausted. The power would be used only to ensure the implementation and delivery of the
With their wide-ranging responsibilities and democratic accountability to their electorate, local authorities are vital to
Prevent work. Effective local authorities will be working with their local partners to protect the public, prevent crime and to promote strong, integrated communities.
Local authorities should establish or make use of an existing local multi-agency group to agree risk and co-ordinate
The duty is likely to be relevant to fulfilling safeguarding responsibilities in that local authorities should ensure that there are clear and robust safeguarding policies.
Local authorities will be expected to develop a Prevent action plan and ensure frontline staff have a good understanding of
In complying with the duty we expect local authorities to ensure that publicly-owned venues and resources do not provide a platform for extremists
Prevent duty guidance for specified authorities
Schools (excluding higher and further education)
In England about eight million children are educated in some 23,000 publicly-funded and around 2,400 independent schools. All publicly-funded schools are required by law to teach a broad and balanced curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral, social
and cultural development of pupils.
Senior management and governors are expected to assess the risk of pupils being drawn into terrorism, including support for the extremist ideas and should make sure that staff have training that gives them the knowledge and confidence to identify children
Proprietors of all schools should ensure that their safeguarding arrangements take into account the procedures and practice of the local authority as part of the inter-agency safeguarding procedures.
Institutions will be expected to ensure children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in school.
The importance of the Prevent Strategy for Education and Schools
The Extremism taskforce report called ‘Tackling Extremism in the UK’
was produced in response to the 2013 attack on Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich and to a lesser extent the far right attacks by Ukrainian student Pavlo Lapshyn in the West Midlands. The report has recommended extended responsibilities in schools, for example:
“All schools in England, whether in the state or independent sectors, including those with a faith ethos, must expect that they will be inspected and assessed on their measures to protect their pupils from extremist material”.
In Bradford, Children’s Services through Diversity and Cohesion (including the Interfaith Education Centre) have been addressing Prevent as an integral part of the duty in promoting community cohesion as suggested in the statement above. This has been through
a range of initiatives like our peer education programme, Stand up, Speak out, Make a difference (SUSOMAD) working with the Anne Frank & You and History for Today exhibitions. Building Resilience in Bradford, a specific Prevent funded programme run the previous
year (2012/13) open to all secondary schools. This, like other projects, aims to support school staff and strengthen their abilities to counter the use of religious justifications for violence and extremism, and through peer education using ‘pupil voice’
tackle human rights issues, hate crimes, bullying and prejudice.
Prevent is about all forms of extremism and there is also a significant focus on challenging far right extremism. The Prevent programme in Bradford has funded an education project, REWIND, in several secondary schools which provides strong challenge to
much of the far right narrative.
Many schools have been involved in initiatives delivered by the Interfaith Education Centre, for example, visits to places of worship supporting Religious Education; Interfaith Week; Believe in Bradford Conferences, all these aim to increase student’s spiritual,
moral, social and cultural (SMSC) understanding and development. There are lots more that you as schools do in promoting community cohesion and equality.
These and similar programmes are available once again for the 2015/16 academic year.
What should schools do now to address Prevent?
The Government say we have to do more and address specific issues in relation to safeguarding children or young people that maybe vulnerable or at risk of being exposed to radicalisation and extremism.
In June this year the DfE consulted key stakeholders on strengthening powers to intervene in schools which are failing to actively promote British values.
Ofsted's regulations took effect in September 2014 and will sit alongside the requirements of the Equalities Act. Schools will be expected to focus on, and be able to show how their work with pupils is effective in, embedding fundamental British values.
Actively promoting also means challenging pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values. Ofsted have revised the school inspection framework and
The Common Inspection Framework will be effective from September 2015. The revised framework places a greater emphasis on schools to improve resilience to extremist narratives.
These new requirements mean that schools need to be aware of the Prevent agenda, the ultimate aim of which is to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Schools need to be able to show strong leadership, effective safeguarding and staff
training as well as a broad and balanced curriculum promoting British Values as well as encouraging tolerance and respect.
Action will also be taken against schools where, for example, girls are disadvantaged on the grounds of their gender - or where prejudice against those of other faiths is encouraged or not adequately challenged.
The DfE’s governors’ handbook will reflect the new advice and highlight governors’ role in setting and securing an appropriate ethos and monitoring practice in the school.
Support for Schools
The Diversity and Cohesion Service, along with the Council’s Prevent Lead, Michael Churley have responded to these changes by providing a range of measures to support schools. These include:
- Delivering Safeguarding training in the form of the ‘Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent’ (WRAP) for primary and secondary schools, to ensure that key members of school staff including governors have a good understanding of their roles and responsibilities
- Providing a
Prevent ‘Self Assessment Questionnaire’ for schools
- Guidance and advice to support the curriculum as well as initiatives that engage children and young people in Prevent
- A range of guidance documents on the Prevent Strategy
- CPD for school staff to address promoting British values of democracy through Religious Education/SMSC and our peer education projects e.g. Stand up, Speak out, Make a Difference!
Useful links :
The Prevent Strategy - This provides a detailed account of the Governments Prevent agenda produced in 2011 referring specifically to Education and Schools in Chapter 10
on page 63.
Prevent Duty Guidance for specified authorities
Prevent Schools Self Assessment
- The self assessment form provides schools with an opportunity to assess what they have already done to address the Governments Prevent agenda and identify actions they may wish to take.
School's Policy: Safeguarding and Child Protection – model statements. This document will provide schools with some statements that
they may wish to include when updating their Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy to ensure that the Prevent Strategy forms an integral part of safeguarding policy.
Promoting fundamental British values as part of SMSC in schools - This document will provide schools with advice The main points of this document is to make clear what is expected of schools in promoting fundamental British values; and how this aligns with
schools’ duty to promote SMSC.
new:Online Safety – Protecting our children from Radicalisation and Extremism - Bulletin issued by UK Safer Internet
Centre November 2014
PREVENT Strategy - Advice note from Sir Michael
Wilshaw . This advice note provides information as a result of HMI’s unannounced monitoring visit to the 5 Birmingham Schools placed in special measures last summer.
The Channel Scheme in Bradford District - Channel is a multi agency process which provides support to those who may be vulnerable to being drawn in to violent extremism
or terrorism. Channel uses existing collaboration between partners to support individuals and protect them from being drawn into terrorism. It is similar to the way we work, using partnership structures, to protect vulnerable people from harm – for example
in drugs and gangs prevention work.
Channel Duty Guidance - Statutory guidance for Channel panel members and partners of local panels
On-line Channel awareness module