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Updated Prevent Duty Guidance

December 11, 2023
4 minute read

Prevent duty guidance has been refreshed and updated to reflect several recommendations of the Independent Review of Prevent. It is an update to the existing Prevent duty guidance for schools and early years providers in England and Wales (last updated in April 2021). The updated guidance has been simplified into one document for all education settings - this helps to create greater consistency in the core expectations, whilst still acknowledging differences between education phases.

There are no new legal requirements or additional responsibilities for schools and early years providers. Settings should continue to understand their Prevent duty requirements as part of their wider safeguarding responsibilities as outlined in Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE). The final stages of this autumn term will be a transition period as we do not anticipate the revised guidance will come into effect until 31st December at the earliest.

What’s changed?

The changes provide greater clarity, practical advice and signposting to best practice. The changes include:

Ideological causes of terrorism

The first objective of Prevent has been changed to “tackle the ideological causes of terrorism”. The ideological component of terrorism is what sets it apart from other acts of serious violence. The guidance recommends education settings consider ideology when delivering all aspects of Prevent. The guidance introduces a new theme - ‘Reducing Permissive Environments’ to tackle the ideological causes of terrorism. For schools and early years, this includes the existing considerations of building resilience through the curriculum and having effective IT and visiting speaker policies to reduce exposure to radicalising influences.

Training

Schools and early years providers should determine who the appropriate members of staff are and how frequently training should occur, being proportionate to the risk of terrorism and extremism in their local area. They should also consider what type of training is needed for staff in different roles. It is recommended that leads with designated Prevent responsibilities receive more in-depth training, including on extremist and terrorist ideologies to enable them to train and advise other staff and support making informed referrals to Prevent where necessary. The guidance also signposts government training resources, including the GOV.UK Prevent duty training.

Managing Risk

The risk and threat landscape has been updated In line with the Counter terrorism strategy (CONTEST) 2023.

The risk and threat picture is broader than that of 2015, but the threat from Islamist terrorism remains the primary concern. It is recommended that settings consider whether their risk assessments accurately reflect and account for local risk and threat, and are proportionate based on setting size and provision.

Information Sharing

A new section has been added on information sharing, to reiterate that sharing information on Prevent should be treated the same as wider safeguarding. The National Referral Form is being rolled out nationally with the aim for all Prevent partners to adopt this approach. The referral form means that there is greater consistency of outcome both within and across a local authority. Providers should continue to follow their existing processes for sharing information about learners susceptible to radicalisation and be aware of the Prevent referral process in their local authority. It also highlights existing KCSIE expectations that, where appropriate, as with any other safeguarding concern, any Prevent concerns should be securely transferred when a child moves settings or school.

What actions do I need to take?

It is recommended those who are responsible for the implementation and oversight of Prevent responsibilities read the updated and refreshed Prevent duty guidance. You may wish to update your Prevent risk assessment and action plan (if applicable) or safeguarding policy. Risk assessment templates are available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prevent-duty-risk-assessment-templates

If you require further support, please contact your local authority safeguarding or education services. They will be able to signpost you to further information regarding both your local and national Prevent risks.

Further support for designated safeguarding leads, including on understanding and identifying risk and making Prevent referrals, is available on GOV.UK.

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