Ofsted scraps toolkit for tackling extremism

7th January 2011 at 00:00

A toolkit which advises FE colleges on how they should prevent violent extremism has been scrapped, Ofsted has confirmed.

The Learning Together to be Safe document has been withdrawn at the request of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The toolkit called on colleges to break down segregation between students from different communities, and to "use teaching styles and curriculum which allow grievances to be aired, explored and demonstrate the role of conflict resolution and active citizenship".

It insisted staff who express extremist views, bring inflammatory materials into colleges or direct students to unsuitable websites should be subject to disciplinary procedures and, if necessary, reported to the police.

Staff were advised to watch out for warning signs including graffiti promoting extremist messages, parents reporting changes in a student's behaviour and students voicing opinions based on extremist ideas.

The guidance highlighted the threat to the UK from groups influenced by al-Qaeda, dissident Irish republicans and far-right organisations.

The toolkit said colleges had a duty to systematically report racial incidents, and encouraged them to hold group discussions about major incidents such as terrorist attacks.

Colleges were also advised not to hire out their facilities to groups with extremist views.

When the toolkit was published in February 2009, the University and College Union warned that its focus on Muslims would "damage" community cohesion in colleges.

Ofsted has now been told not to inspect the use of the toolkit, pending the completion of a policy review expected later this month.

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