New guidance on how to implement the government’s counter-terrorism strategy has been issued to FE providers, including case studies of how colleges have combatted extremism.
The 157 Group of colleges, with the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, has launched a toolkit to help education and training providers deliver the government's Prevent strategy, which aims to stop people being drawn into terrorism.
Lynne Sedgmore, executive director of the 157 Group, said there have been many questions from colleges and other FE providers about what the duty means in practice.
“As with all important guidance, education professionals are always concerned to make sure they are doing the right things for their learners, all the more so when the guidance concerns such a key area of focus for our society at the moment,” she said.
The toolkit is a list of cases studies under each of the headings set out in the current Prevent guidance, including partnership, risk assessment, staff training, building learner resilience, welfare and online safety.
Under earner resilience, for example, it highlights Stoke on Trent College, which has gained funding for a project using workshops and informal learning to raise awareness of extremism among students and to foster values such as tolerance.
Under welfare, it highlights Hull College, which has introduced a dedicated prayer room and volunteer chaplains from a variety of different faiths
Birmingham Metropolitan College is praised for its online strategy after introducing policies that students and staff must sign up to and strict filters that block inappropriate material.
“In FE colleges, we understand Prevent as another form of safeguarding our learners, in this case from the risk of radicalisation,” said Ms Sedgmore.
“Many of the organisations that have contributed case studies to this toolkit are based in priority areas for Prevent and have been working around this agenda for several years. We are grateful to them for sharing their experience, which we hope will help those organisations newer to this issue.”
Stewart Bembridge, policy adviser at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on preventing violent extremism, said that with the UK threat level at severe, the second highest level, preventing people from being drawn into terrorism had never been more important.
“I would like to thank the 157 Group, AELP and all those involved in producing this toolkit, which gives a helpful and timely illustration of how different education and training organisations are tackling extremism, and demonstrates a variety of approaches that address the requirements set out in the Prevent duty,” he said.
Heads seek help to shut ‘floodgate’ of radicalisation – February 2015
Inspectors on the hunt for extremism – June 2013