Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

'We Need a System to Protect Young People from Radicalisation. in My Experience, Prevent Is Effective in Doing That'

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

'We Need a System to Protect Young People from Radicalisation. in My Experience, Prevent Is Effective in Doing That'

Article excerpt

For this special issue, TES asked a broad selection of teachers to describe their experience of working under the duty. In this article, a headteacher shares his story

A year ago, I received a call from my local Prevent coordinator to discuss a teenager who was working as a teaching assistant in a nearby supplementary school. The teenager had been speaking to a member of Daesh (the organisation calling itself Islamic State) in Syria through a popular social media website and, rightly, there were concerns, not just about the individual but also about her role as a teaching assistant and, therefore, the welfare of her pupils.

The Prevent coordinator asked if I could act as an intermediary to discuss with the school how they could put in place procedures to manage the risk that the teaching assistant might have posed and reach out to the girl herself to offer support and guidance.

Prevent has been accused of being heavy-handed or insensitive in its approach. But in my experience, the individuals who deliver Prevent recognise the need to work with the local community to safeguard vulnerable individuals from harm. After all, I was approached to help because, as the founder of the Ayesha Community School, they felt that I was a respected member of my community who understood the possible danger the teenager may have eventually been drawn towards.

I worked with the school to put in place procedures that ensured that the young teaching assistant was never alone with children and always had another teacher present in the classroom. The school's managers met with the girl's supervisor and ensured that she had full knowledge of the situation.

I also met the teenager with a local Imam to find out what had drawn her to engage with this person online and to give her an outlet in which to discuss this sensitive subject and ask questions about Islamic teachings. I talked about the risks posed by strangers online and how it was impossible for her to know whether the person she was speaking to was who they claimed to be.

How did she know whether the person who was encouraging her to travel had any authority to talk about whether it was an Islamic duty to travel to Daesh territory? How could she even be sure whether the person was male or female?

Devastating consequences

We've seen, all too tragically, the devastating consequences for those who have travelled to Daesh territory. It was recently reported that 16-year-old Kadiza Sultana from the Bethnal Green Academy was thought to have been killed in Syria. Reports suggested that she had wanted to come back to the UK but feared for her life if she tried to escape. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.