Have you heard of Prevent? Prevent is one of four strands of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy, known as Contest. It was created by the Labour government in 2003 and its remit was widened by the coalition government in 2011. The other strands are Prepare, Protect and Pursue. Prevent is designed to support people at risk of joining extremist groups and carrying out terrorist activities. In practice, it aims for police and other organisations, including schools, to build relations across the UK and requires faith leaders, teachers, doctors and others to refer any suspicions about people to a local Prevent body. An assessment is then made about whether further action is needed.

Since July 2015 all schools have a duty to safeguard children from radicalisation and extremism. This means we have a responsibility to protect children from extremist and violent views. Importantly, we can provide a safe place for pupils to discuss these issues so they better understand how to protect themselves.

Many of the things we already do in school to help children become positive, happy, proactive members of society also contribute to the Prevent strategy. These include:

* Exploring other cultures and religions and promoting diversity

* Challenging prejudices and racist comments

* Developing critical thinking skills and a strong, positive self-identity

* Promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils, as well as the British values of democracy, individual liberty and mutual respect, the rule of law and the tolerance of different faiths and beliefs

Our staff were privileged to have Prevent training on our INSET day with Mark Wilson, Dudley’s Prevent Officer. Delivered with his engaging humour, Mark’s presentation was both informative and shocking. It has really opened our eyes to what is actually happening in our own community and we feel that you need to know what’s going on too. We have invited Mark to run a session for parents and our broader school community on Monday 4 March at 6.00 pm. Please do your best to come along. This session will actually follow the meeting for parents of Year 3 and Year 4 children going on our Ilam Hall residential, which will start at 5.30 pm that evening.