How can students articulate what Prevent means to them?
“Prevent is a challenging and complex area
that requires national and local organisations to work together.”
For those in the education and skills sector you will be well aware that the Common Inspection Framework places significant emphasis on ensuring equality and diversity and fundamental British values, in line with the Equalities Act 2010 and the Prevent strategy, related to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, are proactively promoted within the curriculum, and not seen as add-ons.
We also know that Ofsted have a particular focus on how well students can ‘articulate’ what this means to them. The days of seeing equality and diversity, safeguarding and Prevent training as good practice is over. This training (for all staff and students) is simply a ‘norm’. The key is to ask the ‘so what?’ questions;
- What impact is the training having on students and their experience?
- And how well can students articulate what it means to them?
One of the key issues I come up against when training staff is their confusion over how equality and diversity and fundamental British values relate. So, before progressing, lets clarify what we mean by equality and diversity, and Prevent.
Equality and Diversity (and beyond)
- Equality – could be described as proactively challenging unfairness and bullying. It is about ensuring you are offering equal opportunities and access, irrespective of people’s abilities or characteristics. This relates to The Equality Act 2010 and so is therefore backed by the law.
- Diversity – is about recognising, celebrating and promoting difference.
But we need to go well beyond just equality and diversity if we are aspiring to do more than simply the norm. We need to consider such things as;
- Community cohesion – which is about linking communities so we all have similar life opportunities, have a sense of belonging. In an educational setting ensuring your students are integrated through peer to peer support, relationship building, team working and ground rules.
- Social inclusion – is the act of making all groups of people within a society feel valued and important. In education it is about using your students social and cultural backgrounds within sessions to meet your student’s individual needs and the needs of our wider society.
There are sound legal, moral, business and economic imperatives for this. See my articles The importance of social networks for a healthy identity and 5 Benefits of Equality and Diversity to Businesses for a bit of an overview.
Prevent is one strand of the government’s counter terrorism strategy (called Contest, or sometimes referred to as the 4 P’s – Protect, Prepare, Pursue and Prevent). Prevent is the referral, information sharing and early intervention strand – which relies on consent (this means it is voluntary).
In integral part of Prevent are the five fundamental British Values:
- democracy – our system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of state, through elected representatives.
- the rule of law – the principle that all people and institutions are subject to and accountable to law that is fairly applied and enforced.
- individual liberty – to exercise freely those rights generally accepted as being outside of governmental control.
- mutual respect (respect is accepting a person for what they are and what they present themselves to be – respect exists in a range from mild acceptance to total admiration). Mutual respect is when the same relationship exists between each.
- tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs – the ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with.
There can be much debate over the terminology ‘fundamental British values’, however, if we can put that on hold and concentrate on what the values actually are, I think we can see there is a clear correlation and cross-over between equality and diversity, cohesion and inclusion, and British values.
Let’s look closer then at where some overlap might obviously exist:
E&D (and beyond) and Prevent
Backed by the law – legally binding (rule of law – FBV)
Actively challenging unfairness, bullying etc. in society (democracy and the rule of law – FBV)
Recognising everyone is different (respect and liberty – FBV)
Actively promoting and celebrating difference (respect and tolerance – FBV)
- Community Cohesion
Linking communities (respect and tolerance – FBV)
Integrating groups – relationship building, team working (democracy, respect and tolerance – FBV)
- Social inclusion
Making all groups of people within a society feel valued and important (respect and tolerance – FBV)
In education, use of your students social and cultural backgrounds and meeting their individual needs (liberty and respect – FBV).
The trick then, in an educational setting, is to get students to be able to articulate this overlap and what it means to them. The best way to do this is undoubtedly through their individual target setting (embedded into their individual learning plans or whatever other documentation you use for target setting). This way students will be able to make a direct correspondence between values, their behaviour and their learning.
Bringing it all together
It is worth reminding ourselves that undertaking straightforward equality and diversity, safeguarding or prevent training is really no more than ‘requires improvement’, to use Ofsted terminology. To get to good we need to contextualise this training, and focus on the ‘impact’, which means getting our students to be able to articulate what it means to them in a way that illustrates the connection between values, behaviour and learning.
If you would like contextualised training that focusses on embedding E&D, safeguarding and Prevent into Employability/soft skills target setting please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 078543049779
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