Safeguarding, Prevent and Duty of Care
The passing of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 means educational establishments now have a statutory duty to prevent students from being drawn into terrorism. With the Internet and social media playing a huge role in the radicalisation of young people, a comprehensive security approach is essential for complying with the government’s Prevent duty.
What is Prevent?
In the summer of 2015, the UK government made Prevent (its full name is the Preventing Violent Extremism strand) a statutory duty for schools, childcare providers and further education establishments. Along with prisons, local authorities and NHS trusts, they are now under a legal obligation to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. According to the government’s guidance, the day-to-day responsibilities of teachers and staff now include being able to spot children who might be vulnerable to radicalisation.
Appropriate Filtering, Monitoring and Restrictions
Schools and other education establishments have been focused on filtering website content and blocking website categories in an attempt to satisfy duty of care requirements around online safety and cyberbullying. However with the introduction of enhanced requirements and auditing guidelines, along with the updated guidance on the Prevent Duty, schools now have a requirement to look much deeper into internet and social media traffic to identify potential children at risk. This includes identifying sites that may appear innocuous but attempt to display harmful content to children and to keep accurate records of exactly who does what, whether the internet requests are allowed or blocked. This helps to identify the signs of radicalisation, whether explicit or significant as part of a pattern of behaviour.