Best Practice

Prevent for primaries – a misplaced strategy?

An increasing number of primary-age children are being referred to the government’s Channel anti-terrorism scheme. With a bid to remove the duty for primary schools currently in Parliament, how beneficial is the Prevent strategy for this age group?

On February 12, 2015, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act was given royal assent. Section 26 of the Act places a duty on schools in England and Wales to prevent people being drawn into terrorism. From July 1, 2015, the duty took effect.

Now an Amendment Bill is currently proceeding through Parliament and is due to have its second reading debate on January 27. The Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (Amendment) Bill proposes to repeal the provisions that require teachers, carers and responsible adults to report signs of extremism or radicalisation among children in primary and nursery schools.

Since the introduction of the duty to report, the number of children and young people being referred has escalated. Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act before June indicate that there were 2,311 referrals to the Channel scheme for under-18s. Referrals from schools have risen from 537 to 1,121 according to statistics released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

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