This event is free and open to the public (no registration required). You can watch the live stream and join the conversation on our YouTube channel.
What is Britain in February 2021, two months after Britain has left the European Union? Was the creation of the national curriculum a Brexit policy, 30 years before Brexit? When researching or teaching Fundamental British Values (FBV), do we need to go beyond The Queen, Tea, Fish and Chips, and the Union Jack to recognise the cultural diversity within four different nations, let alone one city or nation? What will the revised Prevent Duty policy look like? Are enough teachers teaching Prevent and using the opportunity to discuss radicalisation and terrorism, as well as drugs, gangs, neglect, and sexual exploitation in classrooms and lecture theatres? Today’s event brings together three specialists who have all carried out research into FBV and Prevent. They bring empirical evidence and applied ideas to the questions above, as well as the ongoing and evolving dialogues that continue to affect us politically, culturally, socially, and educationally.
‘Shadow-Boxing’- The Prevent duty and its impact on English secondary schools and school leaders by Adam Lang
In July 2015, a legal duty came into force requiring that ‘specified authorities’ in England, which included schools, show ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. This is popularly referred to as the ‘Prevent Duty’. Prevent, developed by the Home Office in 2003 out of full public scrutiny, and only fully operationalised following the 7 July 2005 London bombings, has consistently been the most contentious element of the UK Government counter terrorist strategy CONTEST. This duty, which had not existed in previous periods such as the Troubles, created new challenges and demands for school leaders in carrying out their work (Riley in Earley and Greany 2017). My presentation will share some of the key findings from my research in different English secondary schools in a variety of geographical regions with different school populations and serving different communities. How is Prevent impacting on schools, on the professionalism of school leaders, and on concepts such as ‘free speech’ in schools (Durodie 2016) and ‘securitisation’? I interviewed a range of school leaders of differing experience working in LEA schools, academies, mixed and single sex, Faith schools, and schools with post-16 provision. My work illuminates how the ‘Prevent Duty’ has been enacted by school and college leaders in secondary schools and colleges in England; and finds a mixed and messy response to policy and challenges some scholars findings that school leaders have largely accepted the need for Prevent (Busher et al 2017;2019). I utilise the work of Stephen. J. Ball on policy enactment (Ball 1993, 2017, 2018) exploring different policy actor positions (Ball et al 2011). I draw on the recent work of scholars Vincent (2018; 2020) on ‘Fundamental British Values’.
The Prevent Effect and Fundamental British Values: Radicalisation, National Identity and Britishness by Prof Hazel Bryan
With its genesis in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, the Prevent duty is the responsibility placed upon certain members of society to prevent radicalisation and extremism. In terms of education, this duty should be understood in concert with the statutory requirement to promote (fundamental) British values enshrined in the Teachers’ Standards (DfE, 2012). Both the Prevent duty and the concept of fundamental British values have generated significant questions: has there been chilling effect on freedom of speech? is there an Islamophobic undertone to these initiatives? in what ways are Ofsted inspections, school resources, the curriculum, and approaches to diversity affected? This presentation draws on two research projects (the first study to research the impact of FBVs and Prevent on Initial Teacher Education and the first study to research how Head Teachers are navigating these statutory requirements), Bryan and Revell’s book titled ‘Fundamental British Values in Education: Radicalisation, National Identity and Britishness’ and their forthcoming book (with Elton-Chalcraft) on the ‘Prevent Effect’ to interrogate these issues.
The Prevent Strategy and anti-extremism education in English schools by Prof Paul Thomas
This presentation will analyse the key findings from the first national study on how educators in English schools and colleges are understanding and implementing the counter-terrorism Prevent Duty (Busher et al, 2017;2019). Carried out by the author and colleagues, this study found educators largely accepting of the need for Prevent, and particularly of its framing of Prevent as a form of safeguarding, with these findings confirmed by subsequent empirical studies (Busher and Jerome, 2020). Findings on the Government’s other key pillar of the Prevent Duty, upholding ‘Fundamental British Values’ through the curriculum, were more complex, and the presentation will reflect on this in the context of the Prevent Strategy’s changes and developments. Here, the presentation will draw on research around previous iterations of Prevent (Thomas, 2012; 2016) to analyse the Strategy’s continued limitations around the development of effective anti-extremism education (Davies, 2008), and with equipping and supporting educators to develop educational dialogue that encourages engagement with complexity of both ideas and identifications in the face of extremist threats offering simplistic and binary understandings of the world to young people.