Israel / Palestine Conflict - Guidance and resources for schools

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The Home Office have provided guidance for education settings in how to respond to potentially radical comments being made by students. The guidance can be found below. Solutions Not Sides has also provided support for schools - to be found below.

Home Office Guidance

You will be aware of how this heightened violence can often have a knock-on effect on inter-faith relations, hate crime incidents and exploitation by extremists here in the UK.  As such, we have put together the below short refresher on Prevent referrals, thresholds, and incidents in schools in order to help provide clarity in conversations with stakeholders and partners.

Prevent Referrals
Prevent seeks to intervene early, to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.  Where someone is concerned a person may have been deliberately exposed to harmful terrorist narratives, it is right that they refer them to the necessary authorities.  A Prevent referral does not amount to an accusation of criminality.  Rather, it allows for a multi-agency assessment to be conducted and support to be provided to help divert people from engaging in harmful activity.  Through this referral, the person will be able to receive the vital support they need. 

 

All referrals to Prevent are carefully assessed based on the specific details of the case.  If a person is found to not be at risk of radicalisation, the case is immediately closed to Prevent.  They may be referred to other appropriate services, or no further action may be taken.

Lawful non-violent protest or activism does not meet the threshold for Prevent referrals.  Holding legitimate political views is not an indicator for extremism provided they are not expressed or furthered by statements, deeds or actions which result in harassment, intimidation or threats of violence against individuals or society itself.

 

Encouragement of terrorism, including glorifying the commission or preparation of acts of terrorism, fundraising for the purposes of terrorism, and inviting support for a proscribed terrorist organisation, are all criminal offences.  Hamas are a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK.

Prevent & Schools
Many young people will have a strong personal interest in these issues, and we are aware that in some schools this may lead to political activity by older pupils.  Schools should ensure that political expression by pupils is done sensitively, avoiding disruption and feelings of intimidation or targeting for other pupils and staff.  Schools should also make every effort to ensure that this activity does not extend to discriminatory bullying or involve the expression of antisemitic, anti-Muslim, or other discriminatory views.  Where this does happen, the Department for Education expect schools to deal with these incidents with all due seriousness, in line with their behaviour policy.

 

Depending on the circumstances, safeguarding leads may also look to determine whether abusive and discriminatory views expressed or shared by pupils are representative a wider susceptibility, and consider the appropriateness of engaging with support through the Prevent programme. We trust teachers and other staff to exercise their professional judgment about whether a referral is appropriate, as they do for all other safeguarding risks.  Further training and more discussion around radicalisation will help in addressing this, and advice and guidance is available on Educate Against Hate and GOV.UK to support safeguarding leads in making these decisions.

 

Schools should also be mindful of their legal duties regarding political impartiality and should always avoid working organisations that promote antisemitic, anti-Muslim or any other discriminatory views. The Department for Education has published clear and comprehensive guidance to help those working with and in schools to better understand legal duties on political impartiality.  The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/political-impartiality-in-schools

Further Resources 

Particularly in relation to the conflict, and any antisemitic or anti-Muslim incidents emanating as a result of this, you may find the below links useful:

Solutions Not Sides

The SNS team is watching events in Israel and Palestine with deep concern for our speakers and partners in the region.

The violence is against SNS’ principles. These are our fellow human beings who are suffering missile attacks, bombings, and unimaginable horrors. Celebrating the appalling desecration of human life on either side is abhorrent. 

The full statement can be read here:

https://solutionsnotsides.co.uk/blog/2023/solutions-not-sides-statement-october-23

 

We are organising weekly safe spaces for teachers on Tuesdays at 4pm:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/solutions-not-sides-30-minute-teacher-safe-space-and-advice-briefings-tickets-734275837797

 

Teachers can download resources including a 30 minute assembly

https://solutionsnotsides.co.uk/learning-resources

 

If you require an bespoke support, briefing or intervention please feel free to arrange a meeting  through: https://calendly.com/ali-sns/60min 


Information

Published: 12/10/2023
Audience: Head Teachers, Safeguarding Leads, PSHCE Leads
Contact: Geraldine Cooper

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