From education to employment

FE has taken the Prevent duty seriously, this should be acknowledged

Selina Stewart, Prevent duty expert, the Education and Training Foundation

Over 200,000 complete the ETF Prevent duty online modules

Over 200,000 Further Education (FE) and training professionals have taken the free ETF Prevent duty online modules and over 6,000 professionals have received face-to-face training, from ETF Prevent duty associates through workshops, open access and in-house training.

There is no doubt that one reason for the high uptake is the statutory nature of the guidance and the strong Ofsted focus on this area. However there is also no doubt that many staff in provider organisations recognise what an important agenda this is for society as a whole.

These staff have set out to make best use of the Duty to safeguard learners from extremists and to use British values to engage learners in a fuller understanding of the society we live in. This is to their credit; however, there is also no doubt that many have yet to take the courses and this is a challenge we need to overcome

As professionals in education and training we all have a duty towards our learners, to safeguard them from being drawn into extremism whatever their age, to educate them in the grooming process which can lead to radicalisation and to help them protect themselves from online grooming of all kinds.

Although terrorism is rare we are all aware of the impact it has on the wider community which includes our colleagues, learners or their families and friends. We know that as a result of the Manchester concert attack, a significant number of providers right across the region had learners and indeed staff, who were personally affected either directly or indirectly.

The Safeguarding aspect of the Prevent duty is the most well publicised area of provider engagement but we also have a duty, which Ofsted focuses on, to see how far providers are preparing learners for life in modern Britain, through British values. This involves exemplifying British values throughout our organisations, but also by finding opportunities in the curriculum, welfare and tutorial programmes to promote British values.

This is an area which often confuses practitioners:

  • Are they expected to run whole classes on British values?
  • How do they find the natural opportunities in the curriculum to explore these issues?
  • Where are they supposed to find the time to cover British values?

Providers across the sector are coming up with approaches which don’t just ensure that Ofsted are satisfied, but also support learners in understanding more about the society in which they live and work.

For example, providers training apprentices or working in vocational areas, have been very effective at using British values to give learners the opportunity to explore important aspects of their work:

  • The rule of law gives a perfect opportunity to explore legal requirements such as health and safety legislation, employment rights and data protection, which protect workers.
  • Democracy gives an opportunity to explore how this legislation comes about and the impact that decisions national or local government make have on us as individuals, or as employees.
  • Individual liberty can be explored through discussions of choices people make in the roles they apply for or the careers people follow.
  • Mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs – in working with fellow students, colleagues and clients or customers – this is of key importance in ensuring people are not discriminated against and of course links to the requirement to promote the Equality duty.

Ofsted is looking closely at how far providers are supporting all learners in protecting themselves from extremism and radicalisation, and giving learners a broad understanding of the impact British values have on learners’ lives and work.

Recent Ofsted reports have highlighted concerns that some apprentices do not have enough understanding of extremism, radicalisation or British values to discuss how these are relevant in their lives and that some assessors do not have the confidence to extend apprentices’ understanding.

All providers will want to make sure that they are covering all aspects of the Prevent duty for the sake of their learners, but also to comply with Ofsted expectations.

Selina Stewart, Prevent duty expert, the Education and Training Foundation

ETF can help providers with online advice and support through the Prevent for FE and training website, which provides advice across the sector.

Providers who want further help and support in this area can go to the Prevent for FE and Training website for staff awareness raising modules or for learner modules click here. They can also email us to find out about our face to face training offer.

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