Last Updated: Thursday, March 25, 2021

Safeguarding - Prevent radicalisation and extremism

What is this?

​This resource sets out the Scottish approach to safeguarding and protecting the wellbeing of vulnerable young people from the influence of people promoting extremism and terrorism.

Anyone who has experienced or witnessed a hate crime to report it to Police Scotland by dialling 99​9 in emergencies or 101 in non-emergencies. Alternatively reports can be made online by completing Police Scotland’s online hate crime reporting form​.​​

Who is this for?

This is for school leaders, teachers, practitioners and partners to: develop their knowledge and understanding of the UK Government's counter-terrorism ‘Prevent’ strategy, and the risks of radicalisation; and improve their practices in supporting children and young people in dealing with issues around extremism and terrorism.

Explore this resource

What is Prevent?

The UK Counter-Terrorism (CONTEST) Strategy was developed to tackle threats that Scotland and the rest of the UK face from a range of extremist and terrorist ideologies, groups and individuals. Prevent is one strand of this strategy, and sits alongside Pursue, Protect and Prepare.

In 2015, the UK Government placed a duty on specified authorities (including schools, colleges and universities) to have, in the exercise of their functions, “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.

Simply put, Prevent is about safeguarding individuals from being drawn into terrorism, ensuring those vulnerable to extremist and terrorist narratives are given appropriate advice and support at an early stage. Prevent is no different to any other form of safeguarding from harm.

UK Home Office factsheet: Threat posed by right-wing terrorism (released 19 March 2019).

How does Prevent affect you?

Schools have an important role to play by providing a safe space for learners to explore, discuss and debate the range of social and political issues in our rapidly changing world.

It is important to develop young people’s skills to be able to engage as active citizens in a democratic society, developing critical thinking skills so that they become resilient to and equipped to challenge divisive viewpoints and hate speech.

Staff should have a clear understanding of how the holding of views which endorse extremism can lead to safeguarding issues for the wellbeing of the individual young person. Local authorities would therefore be expected to demonstrate an awareness of the Prevent strategy in their work to implement the Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) approach.

Within the curriculum, Social Studies, Health and Wellbeing, and Religious and Moral Education have particular roles to play in helping children and young people develop their understanding of the world by learning about other people, cultures, beliefs, attitudes and values.

It is important to use learning and teaching methodologies that support collaborative learning and critical thinking, help to create supportive learning environments, and to address controversial issues effectively.

Helping to challenge misinformed views and perceptions amongst learners and challenging commonly held myths, for example regarding particular communities, requires skilled practitioners who use techniques that open up discussion.

Staff members should model to learners how diverse views can be heard, analysed and challenged in a way which values dignity, freedom of speech, and freedom from harm. Establishments should consider the professional development needs of staff, to build capacity so that teachers are better equipped to deal with potential safeguarding issues.

Key Prevent policies and documents

How extremists are using COVID-19 to promote disinformation, misinformation, and conspiracy theories (269 KB) - This briefing note is aimed at senior leaders, teachers, and safeguarding leads. It provides a short summary of the ways in which extremists have responded to COVID-19, highlighting the additional radicalisation risks for children and young people and recommended actions that settings can consider.

Statutory Prevent Duty Guidance for specified Scottish local authorities

Preventing violent extremism through education: A guide for policy-makers

Frequently asked questions

Language and terminology guide

Scottish peer review: Self-assessment framework (361 KB) - This self-evaluation framework is intended to assist schools and local authorities with a means of assessing their Prevent delivery and to support effective and consistent implementation of the Prevent Duty. It can be used to assist with a Prevent peer review and for internal self-assessment. It does not represent any form of legal advice issued by or on behalf of the Scottish Government, nor should it be considered an authoritative statement of the law.

Career long professional learning

Prevent radicalisation and extremism - These curated resources to support and safeguard children and young people from radicalisation and to help build resilience to all types of extremism.

Robbie’s Story - A case study of former far-right extremist Robbie Mullen. The teacher video and CPD session plan could be used for teacher training sessions to raise awareness of extreme right-wing issues and actions to take for concerns.

Barking and Dagenham Primary Resources: British Values Games - This set of three classroom PowerPoint lessons on Fundamental British Values aims to help schools promote the values and build resilience to extremism in an age-appropriate way for key stage one pupils. Each PowerPoint slide consists of one lesson, with fun interactive games

Votes for Schools Secondary - The lesson plan, classroom PowerPoint presentation and curriculum guide created by Votes for Schools encourages secondary school pupils to answer the question ‘can sharing stories tackle extremism?’

Be Internet Citizens - This resource has been designed to teach teenagers about media literacy, critical thinking and digital citizenship, with the aim of encouraging young people to have a positive voice online.

Votes for Schools - These resources explore radicalisation online and conspiracy theories.

UK Government Home Office Prevent e-learning

UK Government Referrals e-learning

Spotlight on Safeguarding - Why schools should never ignore a concern.

Take 5 minutes at in-service - There are often only a few minutes for an all-staff safeguarding slot, but a regular drip-feed approach is often best anyway. So to make the most of those precious 5 minutes at the start of the staff briefing, why not use one of these ready-to-use Spotlight videos with stimulus and discussion questions to keep safeguarding at the top of everyone's agenda?

The National Grid for Learning: Prevent-COVID-19 - This webinar with the UK National Prevent Coordinator was livestreamed in collaboration with the DfE in August 2020 to convey the impact of COVID-19 on Prevent, and outline practical suggestions and tools to support Local Authority Prevent Teams to respond to Prevent risks in the education sector.

Learning and teaching resources

Extreme Dialogue - Educational resources created to build young people’s resilience to violent extremism. Classroom activities include active discussion and enhanced critical thinking, inspired by a series of short films. Download a teaching resource that can be adapted for use in Scottish schools.

PDF file: Extreme Dialogue for PREVENT Scotland (1.3 MB)

PHSE Association: Addressing extremism and radicalisation - A series of four lesson plans for third and fourth level with a specific focus on addressing extremism and radicalisation of all kinds.

PHSE Association: Discussing a terrorist attack.

No Hate Speech Youth Campaign - This website provides information about the campaign and the resources developed to prevent, counter and produce alternative narratives to hate speech. Download a teaching resource that can be adapted for use in Scottish schools.

PDF file: No Hate Speech Movement PREVENT Resource (162 KB)

London Grid for Learning: Counter-extremism narratives and conversations - Educational resources created to build young people’s resilience to violent extremism. Classroom activities include active discussion and enhanced critical thinking, inspired by a series of short films.

NPCC Run Tell Hide - Security experts from Counter Terrorism Policing have commissioned the creation of an animated core film designed to teach young people how to react if caught up in an a gun or knife terror attack. The film aimed at 11 to 16-year-olds will also show them what to do if they see suspicious behaviour or a suspicious item.

Educate Against Hate - Children often take risks, explore new things and push boundaries as they become more independent. This site provides practical advice and information on protecting them from extremism and radicalisation.

Let's Talk About It - An initiative designed to provide practical help and guidance to the public in order to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.