Out-of-school Education: Radicalism

Department for Education written question – answered on 7th October 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to protect students at Islamic education centres in the UK from being exposed to potentially radicalising ideology; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Government Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

All schools and colleges, including independent schools, are subject to the Prevent Duty, which requires them to protect people from the harm of radicalisation and from being drawn into terrorism.

They are also required to actively promote the values that underpin and unite our society – democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. The department has worked closely with Ofsted to strengthen Ofsted’s inspection frameworks, so that inspectors are required to assess how well schools and colleges are meeting these requirements.

We work closely with the sector to support it in implementing these requirements and to ensure our children and young people are resilient to extremist ideology and prepared for life in modern Britain. We fund, with the Home Office, networks of experts who provide frontline support to educational institutions, and we provide a range of free resources for practitioners on our Educate Against Hate and Education and Training Foundation websites for schools and colleges.

The department is also taking forward a package of activity aimed at enhancing the safeguarding of children in out-of-school settings, where we know some children have their mainstream education supplemented through the provision of after school clubs or activities, which can include religious settings offering tuition in their own faith.

This includes the provision of £3 million to boost local capacity to identify and intervene in out-of-school settings of concern, and inform best practice on how existing legal powers – held across local authorities and relevant agencies – can best be used to address safeguarding and welfare concerns in these settings. This work started last summer and is due to conclude in March 2020.

Alongside this, we have been developing a voluntary code of practice for out-of-school setting providers and guidance for parents. These will support providers to understand what is needed to run a safe setting. This will help parents and carers make informed choices when considering out-of-school settings for their children, as well as understand the steps they can take where they have concerns. The department consulted on these documents in late February 2019 and will respond to the consultation in due course. The consultation can be found here: https://consult.education.gov.uk/regulatory-framework-unit/out-of-school-settings-voluntary-safeguarding-code/.

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