Home      |      Weblog      |      Articles      |      Satire      |      Links      |      About      |      Contact

Militant Islam Monitor > Satire > UK teachers get "Learning together to be safe" toolkits to combat radicalism- advised to use theatre and drama to "prompt debate"

UK teachers get "Learning together to be safe" toolkits to combat radicalism- advised to use theatre and drama to "prompt debate"

October 8, 2008

Teachers to spy on 'suspicious' pupils radicalised by Islamic extremists

By Matthew Drake
Last updated at 1:22 PM on 08th October 2008
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1072751/How-spot-terrorist-tot-Teachers-spy-suspicious-pupils-radicalised-Islamic-extremists.html# Teachers will carry out surveillance operations on 'suspicious' pupils amid concerns about rising extremism in the classroom.
In an effort to stem the threat of terrorism in schools, the Government will today publish a set of 'terror code' guidelines aimed at helping teachers identify the early signs of radical influences.
'Learning together to be safe' toolkits, which will be made available to all primary and secondary schools, aim to show how teachers can prevent pupils being influenced by extremists by challenging and exposing flaws in their arguments. The government says the kits will help fight al Qaeda and other hate or race-based prejudice. Children's Secretary Ed Balls is to ask schools to openly debate terrorism and race hate issues.
Teachers will also receive advice on how to monitor a child covertly if they appear to be developing any extremist views.
The scheme will extend the 'in loco parentis' powers of teachers and allow them to directly inform the police of any concerns they have over a child's views.
Although ministers have repeatedly stressed that they do not believe playgrounds have become recruiting grounds for fundamentalists, teachers will be urged to report any concerns privately to police or parents.
The terror code will provide a range of contacts, including social services, community workers and police officers, who will advise informers on serious concerns.
It comes after suggestions that British-born imams could be brought in to talk to classes about universal rights and hate values.
It is understood that original drafts of the document only mentioned Islamist extremism, but after fears it would offend Muslim groups it was amended to include far-Right organisations.


What is the extremism 'toolkit'?

The "toolkit" being made available to schools in England to prevent pupils becoming drawn to extremist ideals amounts to a set of practical guidelines and ideas.

From making sure pupils are unable to access extremist websites to hosting relevant theatre productions, the guidance highlights ways in which schools can steer pupils away from extremism.

The government has called the 47-page advice notice "a toolkit to help schools contribute to the prevention of violent extremism".

It is designed for school leaders and is intended as guidance in that does not impose any new requirements on schools.

The aim is to ensure pupils' wellbeing and to aid community cohesion in an age when cultural differences can lead to tensions.

"Education can play a powerful role in encouraging young people to challenge ideas, think for themselves and take responsibility for their actions," the document says.

Extremist graffiti

The toolkit outlines various issues and behaviour that teachers should watch out for.

These include graffiti symbols, writing or artwork promoting extremist messages or images, pupils accessing extremist material online or parental reports of changes in behaviour.

Addressing controversial issues will also help to challenge misinformed views
Government advice to schools

Teachers should also be aware of pupils voicing opinions drawn from extremist ideologies and narratives and the use of extremist or "hate" terms to exclude others or incite violence.

Police reports of issues affecting pupils in other schools should also be noted.

The guidance recommends dealing with issues in school where appropriate, for example removing graffiti, but in other cases external agencies, like the police, may be informed.

The toolkit also alerts school leaders to the dangers of external groups seeking to use school premises or facilities to further their cause.

"Schools should be aware of this risk and ensure that the school or local authority lettings policy sets out values of the school and makes clear that any group whose aims are counter to those values may not hire the facility."

Schools are urged to encourage pupils to become "critical users" of media messages and to prevent staff and pupils from accessing illegal or inappropriate material through school ICT systems.

Drama productions

The guidelines say theatre and drama productions can help raise sensitive issues and prompt debate.

The toolkit cites a debate held in Burnley for Year 10 pupils (14 and 15-year-olds), where young people discussed the motion "One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist", saying this provided an opportunity to share views and beliefs.

"Effectively addressing controversial issues will also help to challenge misinformed views and perceptions amongst pupils, challenge commonly held "myths" and build understanding and appreciation about others," it says.

Everyday lessons can also provide opportunities for debate, particularly religious education, citizenship and history classes.

"Opportunities to challenge myths and to discuss issues related to violent extremism may also arise in other lessons and in informal discussions in school with pupils or staff


Printer-friendly version   Email this item to a friend