The government launched the Prevent Strategy in 2011 to provide practical help to stop people being drawn into terrorism. An important part of the strategy is enabling priority sectors, such as education, charities, faith groups and law enforcement agencies such as the police, to play their role in preventing terrorism. It states that a significant proportion of people who have engaged recently in terrorist-related activity in the UK have attended further or higher education, citing evidence that some extremist organisations have specifically targeted colleges and universities with the objective of radicalising and recruiting students.
Who does it apply to in the education and skills sector?
As well as universities and schools, the Prevent Duty applies to all colleges, adult education centres and independent learning providers funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency. It also applies to those private further education institutions that are on the UK Register of Learning Providers but not receiving public funding. Protecting learners from the risk of radicalisation is part of the wider safeguarding duties required of these education institutions. For instance, all further education and skills providers in England “must have ‘due regard’ to the need to ‘Prevent’ people from being drawn into terrorism”. Ofsted inspectors have been charged with a duty to assess how well they are fulfilling their duties to safeguard children, young people and other learners and “prevent radicalism and extremism”.
‘Prevent’ duty guidance, first published in February 2015, was put into place in the further education and skills sector on 18 September 2015. But a survey by the ATL teaching union found that, less than a month before the Prevent Duty came into force, 45 per cent of lecturers surveyed had not been given any training on it.
What do OCN London qualifications offer?
To support all OCN London centres - whether they are schools, colleges, adult education institutions, training providers or charities – we have developed two qualifications.
The Level 1 Award in Prevent Duty Awareness is aimed at providing learners in schools and colleges, with awareness of the Prevent Duty. The Level 3 Award is aimed at managers, teaching practitioners and support staff in educational institutions who have a specific responsibility under the legislation. The qualification is also relevant to learners aspiring to work in professions which are affected by the Prevent agenda such as nursing and teaching. To gain the award learners need to demonstrate knowledge of the Prevent Duty and show they can apply it to an institution.
These are one unit qualifications and can be delivered and internally assessed online. Free online assessment resource is available, if required, on registration. There are a range of assessment options. Learners are assessed through activities that are either externally set, in the online option, or internally set by tutor assessors. Learners’ portfolios of assessed evidence are internally moderated before the resulting portfolios are externally moderated by OCN London.
What evidence do organisations need to produce?
For inspections, organisations need to produce evidence showing practical steps for implementing the Duty. One is showing relationships with the police, local authority and the local Prevent coordinator. Another is showing that a risk assessment has been carried out. A third is an action plan.
Providing safeguards relating to use of the internet and social networks is part of the Duty. An Ofsted report of further education colleges and other providers carried out between November 2015 and May 2016 revealed that nearly half lacked adequate safeguards to keep their learners safe online, with examples cited of learners viewing terrorist propaganda and visiting firearms websites in college. Inspectors reported cases of learners bypassing their college’s security settings to access websites selling firearms or promoting terrorist ideology. However, the majority had implemented the Prevent duty “well”.
The Ofsted report made a number of recommendations. One was to make sure that education and training providers promote the guidance. Another is to make sure appropriate policies and procedures are in place and that they develop partnerships with other providers and local authorities for sharing of intelligence.
Significantly, providers should ensure staff receive appropriate training so they can identify concerns.
Further information about the OCN London Awards in Prevent.
Link to the Education and Training Foundation website. Link: www.foundationonline.org.uk/