The Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 and your website
The Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a duty of care on schools to prevent people being drawn into terrorism as part of their safeguarding duties. This statutory duty came into effect on today and places responsibilities with schools to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.
What are a school’s duties in relation to the act?
In summary the act outlines that schools leaders (including governors) must:
- establish or use existing mechanisms for understanding the risk of extremism
- ensure staff understand the risk and build capabilities to deal with it
- communicate and promote the importance of the duty
- ensure staff implement the duty effectively
Other duties on schools include:
- effective partnership working with other local agencies, eg. LSCB, police, health, etc.
- information sharing
- maintaining appropriate records
- assessing local risk of extremism (including Far Right extremism)
- demonstrating they are protecting children
- developing clear protocols for visiting speakers
- safeguarding policies that take account of LSCB policies and procedures
- training staff to give them knowledge and confidence
- ensuring there is robust ICT protocols that filter out extremist materials
- school buildings must not be used to give a platform to extremists
For more information on your schools duties in relation to the act please download the documents below:
It is advisable to ensure your Governing Body has read the Prevent Duty Guidance and the Keeping Children Safe in Education document. It is also useful for them to focus on these specific sections on the act:
What is extremism and radicalisation?
Extremism as defined in the Prevent strategy is:
‘vocal or active opposition to fundamental British Values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces.’
Radicalisation is the process by which a press comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism that lead to terrorism.
Showing your commitment via your website
Being transparent in how you fulfill the requirements of the act on your website is vital. In our previous blog we touched on ways in which you can show your commitment to your Prevent duties via your website. Here are some more ideas you might like to think about:
- First and foremost you should make sure your Child Protection and Safeguarding policy statements reflect the new duties and are clearly available on your website.
- Your Computing/ICT policy should also refer to keeping children safe online in term of your Prevent duties and how you protect the IT systems in your school from being used for extremist activity. The act clearly states that any publicly funded resources do not provide a platform for extremism.
- This is also relevant to hiring your buildings so ensure your hire agreement has stringent procedures to protect the school and building from being used for extremist activity and that the agreement and related policies are available on your website. Your local authority should be able to guide you in the best way to do this.
- Make sure your school’s equality, inclusion, e-safety, PSHE and behaviour policies are online, clearly signposted and display content that reflects and makes transparent your approaches and values with regards to extremism, radicalization and protecting children.
- Explain your school and local area strategy for identifying and dealing with concerns clear via your safeguarding page or school information pages.
- Add relevant resources on your e-safety page for parents, for example, Families Matter – Extremism Online and consider a children’s version in child-friendly language that shows them how to get help if they have any worries when online.
- Why not offer training for parents on the signs and symptoms that a child may be being exposed to extremist materials and how to get help and advertise the sessions and resources through your website.
- Register to use the CEOP report button on your website.
- It is a schools reponsiblity to ensue that staff are fully trained. Make sure you communicate that training sessions for staff have occurred via your news/twitter so it is public that you are fulfilling this.
- Have a clear area for your schools ethos and values that explains your approach to diversity and British values. How about a specific British Values page too? On this page explain how you cover the areas of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance.
- Use your news feed to showcase regular cultural and religious visits in and out of school, workshops, and assemblies is really useful in promoting your values towards diversity, tolerance and respect.
Check your website against out free audit to help you see if you have everything you need.