Protecting Children from radicalisation.
You may have heard about the Prevent programme which aims to prevent young people from being radicalised by, for example, far right extremists or religious extremists.
In school we have a duty to care for the children and take note of any child who is at risk of radicalisation, regardless of their background. We also have to take steps to help prevent children being exposed to extremist ideas. These ideas fit well within our school ethos of ‘Celebrating diversity, Learning Together’. Our school community is proud of its diversity –over twenty different languages are spoken here and we have families with connections all around the world. We want to protect and nurture this distinctive ethos.
It is sometimes wondered if primary aged children are too young to learn about extremism. The Prevent strategy is not just about discussing extremism itself, which may not be appropriate for younger children. It is also about teaching children values such as acceptance and mutual respect which are highly prized at Cotham Gardens. Not only that, we also focus on ensuring that every child feels safe, secure and valued within the school community.
We ensure that this happens in a variety of ways For example:
- Through a thorough commitment to building strong positive relationships with every child and being interested in their wellbeing. As our school safeguarding statement says: “We listen to our pupils and take seriously what they tell us.” Our staff know the children well and are alert to changes in their behaviour or mood.
- We work hard to maintain and strengthen our school vision of ‘Celebrating Diversity, Learning Together. We constantly talk together about how great it is to be part of a school community where everyone is different and special with their own unique talents. We are a co-operative school and work hard to ensure that our co-operative values of Self-help, Self-responsibility, Democracy, Equality, Equity and Solidarity are understood and embraced by everyone. Every half-term we have a co-operative WOW day where the children come together to learn about one of our six co-operative values in a fun and interesting way. The children take a lead in organising and carrying out fund raising activities and share their learning with each other and parents/carers in their class assembly. We find opportunities for every child to shine through our commitment to a wide and varied curriculum as well as by providing a wide range of extra-curricular activities.
- Our school vision is strengthened further by events that respond to and celebrate the diversity of the school. We hold different language weeks where we learn about and use languages spoken in the school community. We also hold an annual international week where parents and carers come into school to teach the children games, songs and recipes from their own culture. This week culminates in a celebration of food and music from around the world.
- We have implemented the JIGSAW PSHE curriculum throughout the school and this, in the words of the programme’s authors: “comprehensively addresses the understanding, the skills and the values that students need if they are to choose their own path in a world of diverse and contradictory influences and resist the manifestations of extremism” Being part of a co-operative school enables our children to engage with democracy in a ‘hands on’, ‘practical’ way. This was very evident as children played a full part in the school’s name change consultation and they continue to exert a positive influence through the Learners’ Forum.
- We place a high priority on helping our children and families to stay safe on the internet. We have implemented the South West Grid for Learning’s e-safety curriculum throughout school and regularly communicate with parents/carers on e-safety issues. We use the local authority’s filtering systems to help ensure that children and adults have safe internet access within school.
- We value close working relationships with our families and employ a Learning Mentor to support families and help them integrate into the school community. We run a successful weekly coffee morning for families who also have the opportunity to influence the school’s development through participating in the school forum.
- We work closely with other agencies such as health, social care and the police to keep our children safe.
- If you want to know more about the Prevent strategy then our our safeguarding and Prevent lead, Seth Insall will be happy to speak to you. Alternatively, you can follow the link below for more information. If you ever have a concern that a child you know is in danger of being exposed to extremist views, you can talk to us in confidence. If you prefer you can also ring the police on 101. Your call will be handled confidentially.
Bristol public leaflet: Keeping Bristol communities safe against radicalisation and extremism.