Preventing Extremism and Radicalisation
Poynton High School is committed to providing a secure environment for all of our students, staff and stakeholders. We promote the values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs. We teach and encourage students to respect one another and to respect and tolerate difference, especially those of a different faith or no faith. It is our most fundamental responsibility to keep our students safe and prepare them for life in modern Britain and globally.
We recognise that, as in all schools, there is a risk that students could be drawn in to extremism and radicalisation. Since 2010, when the Government published the Prevent Strategy, there has been an awareness of the specific need to safeguard children, young people and families from violent extremism. There have been several occasions both regionally and nationally in which extremist groups have attempted to radicalise vulnerable children and young people to hold extreme views including views justifying political, religious, sexist or prejudice-based violence, or to steer them into a rigid and narrow ideology that is intolerant of diversity and leaves them vulnerable to future radicalisation.
Poynton High School values freedom of speech and the expression of beliefs and ideology as fundamental rights underpinning our society’s values. Both students and teachers have the right to speak freely and voice their opinions. Freedom, however, comes with responsibility and free speech that is designed to manipulate the vulnerable or that leads to violence and harm of others goes against the values of our school which include equality, human rights, community safety and community cohesion.
Poynton High School is clear that extremism and radicalisation should be viewed as a safeguarding concern. We welcome our duty to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This duty is known as the Prevent Duty.
There is no place for extremist views of any kind in our school, whether from internal sources – students, staff or governors, or external sources - external agencies or individuals.
It is imperative that for our students school is a safe place where they can discuss and explore controversial issues safely and in an unbiased way and where our teachers encourage and facilitate this.
Extremists of all persuasions aim to develop destructive relationships between different communities by promoting division, fear and mistrust of others based on ignorance or prejudice and thereby limiting the life chances of young people.
Education is a powerful weapon against this; equipping young people with the knowledge, skills and critical thinking, to challenge and debate in an informed way.
At Poynton High School we provide a broad and balanced curriculum, delivered by skilled professionals, so that our students are enriched, understand and become tolerant of difference and diversity and also to ensure that they thrive, feel valued and are encouraged to question and understand the wider world in which we live.
Religious Studies is a compulsory part of the curriculum and students study six world religions at Key Stage 3. All students in Key Stage 4 study full course GCSE RS. At GCSE, units include Religion and Prejudice, Religion and the Multicultural Society, Human Rights and War
History and Geography have three hours a fortnight in Years 7-9. These subjects broaden the horizons of our students and are very popular at GCSE and A level. In Year 9 students in History study Conflict including the Civil Rights struggle in America, political extremism in the 20th century and terrorism in the modern world. In Geography students study units on Africa, Brazil and China in Key Stage 3. At GCSE, students study population, migration and globalisation
Modern Foreign Languages provide real opportunities to engage with the wider world. All students study a language at Key Stage 3 with many continuing to GCSE or A level. Through the celebration of the International Day of Languages and participation in our long-running exchanges students are encouraged to celebrate diversity
English promotes discussion and debate and all our students study both English Literature and Language to GCSE
Performing Arts subjects play an important part in promoting a questioning approach and an understanding of the wider world. All students study Drama and Music in Key Stage 3
Computing tackles the issue of e-safety and specifically includes the danger of online radicalisation
The Student Development Days cover a range of issues that broaden students’ minds and enable them to challenge prejudice
Peace Day (Sixth Form)
Key Stage 4 Student Development lessons include a unit on politics, including lessons on extremism and preventing extremism
Beyond the classroom students also engage in a wide range of activities that build confidence and resilience and broaden our students’ horizons. Much of this is through our successful House System. Examples that are particularly relevant to building British Values are:
- Mock General Election 2019
- Sixth Form Debating Society
- Play in a Week
- Exchanges to France, Germany and Spain
- The Battlefields Trip (History), visits to Iceland and Italy in Geography
- Camps International expedition to Ecuador in 2019
- Working towards becoming a Rights Respecting School
- Student leadership opportunities through the House system, prefects and subject leadership
- Duke of Edinburgh's Award
Safeguarding and celebrating diversity
We are proud of the work that we do to combat bullying and to safeguard our students. This includes:
Work towards becoming a best practice Educate and Celebrate school as part of our LGBT+ equality promotion strategy to ensure that we celebrate the diversity of our school community
We are aware that young people can be exposed to extremist influences or prejudiced views from an early age which emanate from a variety of sources and media, including via the internet. E-safety is an important part of the work that we do as a school.
The school ensures that suitable filtering is in place to ensure that children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in schools. More generally, we have an important role to play in equipping children and young people to stay safe online, both in school and outside. Internet safety is integral to our Computing curriculum and is reinforced through PSHCE provision.
All staff and governors completed an online general awareness training module that introduces topics including how to identify factors that can make people vulnerable to radicalisation, and case studies illustrating the types of intervention that may be appropriate. Any new staff complete this on arrival.
The Head Teacher is our Prevent Single Point of Contact and has undertaken Prevent awareness training and is able to provide advice and support to other members of staff on protecting children from the risk of radicalisation.
The Staff Code of Conduct specifically refers to the need to combat extremism and the issue is discussed in whole staff training annually.