Responding to Extremism
Students Vulnerable to Extremism
Since 2010, when the Government published the Prevent Strategy, there has been an awareness of the specific need to safeguard children, young people and families from violent extremism. There have been several occasions both locally and nationally in which extremist groups have attempted to radicalise vulnerable children and young people to hold extreme views including views justifying political, religious, sexist or racist violence, or to steer them into a rigid and narrow ideology that is intolerant of diversity and leaves them vulnerable to future radicalisation.
Bradfields Academy values freedom of speech and the expression of beliefs or ideology as fundamental rights underpinning our society’s values. Both students and staff have the right to speak freely and voice their opinions. However, freedom comes with responsibility and free speech that is designed to manipulate the vulnerable or that leads to violence and harm of others goes against the moral principles in which freedom of speech is valued. Free speech is not an unqualified privilege; it is subject to laws and policies governing equality, human rights, community safety and community cohesion.
The current threat from terrorism in the United Kingdom may include the exploitation of vulnerable people, to involve them in terrorism or in activity in support of terrorism. The normalisation of extreme views may also make children and young people vulnerable to future manipulation and exploitation. Bradfields is clear that this exploitation and radicalisation should be viewed as a safeguarding concern.
Definitions of radicalisation and extremism, and indicators of vulnerability to radicalisation are shown below.
Bradfields seeks to protect children and young people against the messages of all violent extremism including, but not restricted to, those linked to Islamist ideology, or to Far Right / Neo Nazi / White Supremacist ideology, Irish Nationalist and Loyalist paramilitary groups, and extremist Animal Rights movements.
The Governors, the Principal and the Designated Safeguarding Lead will assess the level of risk within the academy and put actions in place to reduce that risk. Risk assessment may include consideration of the academy’s RE and PSHCE curriculum, SEAL and Character Strengths Schemes of Work, the use of the premises by external agencies, anti-bullying policy and other issues specific to the academy’s profile, community and philosophy.
This risk assessment will be reviewed as part of the annual s175 return that is monitored by the governors, the Local Authority and the local Safeguarding Children Board.
The Governing Body will consider their responsibility and take advice from Kent Police and the strategy put in place by the Kent Police & Crime Commissioner’s Office.
Our academy, like all others, is required to identify a Prevent Single Point of Contact (SPOC) who will be the lead within the organisation for safeguarding in relation to protecting individuals from radicalisation and involvement in terrorism: this will normally be the Designated Safeguarding Lead. The SPOC for Bradfields is the Vice Principal [Student Development & Inter-agency Liaison]. The responsibilities of the SPOC are described in Appendix Four.
When any member of staff has concerns that a pupil may be at risk of radicalisation or involvement in terrorism, they should speak with the SPOC/Designated Safeguarding Lead if this is not the same person.
Numerous factors can contribute to and influence the range of behaviours that are defined as violent extremism, but most young people do not become involved in extremist action. For this reason the appropriate interventions in any particular case may not have any specific connection to the threat of radicalisation, for example they may address mental health, relationship or drug/alcohol issues.
Actions Taken Around Concerns
When risk factors are present but there is no evidence of a particular risk then our DSL /SPOC advises us on preventative work that can be done within Bradfields to engage the student into mainstream activities and social groups. The DSL may well be the person who talks to and has conversations with the student’s family, sharing the academy’s concern about the young person’s vulnerability and how the family and Bradfields can work together to reduce the risk.
Depending on the level of concern and any responses received from the family, the DSL/SPOC will:
- Make a referral to Medway Safeguarding Team.
- Instigate monitoring within the academy
- Arrange for support for the student and family through
1. Parent Carer Partnership
3. Common Assessment Framework
Further Guidance can be found in supporting children and young adults in specific circumstances on Medway Safeguarding Children Board’s website:
The site holds information, advice, and policies for professionals and volunteers working with children in Medway on:
- Information for Education Settings
- Notifications and Referrals to the MSCB (including Serious Case Reviews)
- Safeguarding Practice Reflection Framework
Kent Safeguarding Children Board’s website can be found at:
This site also contains useful information.
Please note: Safeguarding concerns at all levels should be logged through Medway’s Social Services before contact is made with other Local Authorities.
Indicators of Vulnerability to Extremism
Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism.
Extremism is defined by the Government in the Prevent Strategy as:
‘Vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.’
We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas.
Extremism is defined by the Crown Prosecution Service as:
‘The demonstration of unacceptable behaviour by using any means or medium to express views which:
- Encourage, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs.
- Seek to provoke others to terrorist acts.
- Encourage other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to serious criminal acts.
- Foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.
There is no such thing as a ‘typical extremist’: those who become involved in extremist actions come from a range of backgrounds and experiences, and most individuals, even those who hold radical views, do not become involved in violent extremist activity.’
Students may become susceptible to radicalisation through a range of social, personal and environmental factors - it is known that violent extremists exploit vulnerabilities in individuals to drive a wedge between them and their families and communities. It is vital that the academy staff are able to recognise those vulnerabilities.
Indicators of vulnerability include:
- Identity Crisis – the student is distanced from their cultural/religious heritage and experiences discomfort about their place in society.
- Personal Crisis – the student may be experiencing family tensions. a sense of isolation. and low self-esteem. they may have dissociated from their existing friendship group and become involved with a new and different group of friends. they may be searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging.
- Personal Circumstances – migration. local community tensions. and events affecting the student’s country or region of origin may contribute to a sense of grievance that is triggered by personal experience of racism or discrimination or aspects of Government policy.
- Unmet Aspirations – the student may have perceptions of injustice. a feeling of failure. rejection of civic life.
- Experiences of Criminality – which may include involvement with criminal groups, imprisonment, and poor resettlement/reintegration.
- Special Educational Need – students may experience difficulties with social interaction, empathy with others, understanding the consequences of their actions and awareness of the motivations of others.
This list is not exhaustive, nor does it mean that all young people experiencing the above are at risk of radicalisation for the purposes of violent extremism.
More critical risk factors could include:
- Being in contact with extremist recruiters.
- Accessing violent extremist websites, especially those with a social networking element.
- Possessing or accessing violent extremist literature.
- Using extremist narratives and a global ideology to explain personal disadvantage.
- Justifying the use of violence to solve societal issues.
- Joining or seeking to join extremist organisations.
- Significant changes to appearance and / or behaviour.
- Experiencing a high level of social isolation resulting in issues of identity crisis and / or personal crisis.
All our staff have received training on this important area of responsibility.
As an Academy, we take our responsibility in ensuring our students are safe from being radicalised very seriously and where we need to we will engage external agencies for advice and support.
Please contact Miss Sweetlove or Mr Waters via the office (01634 683990) for any further information.