Teachers fear Muslim pupils are being increasingly stigmatised as a result of the government’s Prevent agenda in schools and colleges, potentially making them reluctant to share concerns about extremism, according to research.
School and college staff who were surveyed for the study by Coventry, Durham and Huddersfield universities also raised concerns about the effectiveness of the strategy, warning that genuine cases of students being drawn into terrorism were unlikely to be picked up.
They also warned that the Prevent duty, introduced two years ago as part of the government’s counter-radicalisation strategy, is undermining efforts to build an inclusive environment in schools and colleges for students from diverse backgrounds.
The lead investigator, Dr Joel Busher from Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, said: “Approaching Prevent as part of safeguarding appears largely to have been accepted by schools and colleges and has helped to foster fairly widespread confidence about the duty.
“However, linking the duty to the promotion of ‘fundamental British values’ – and in particular the pressure on schools and colleges to emphasise the ‘Britishness’ of these values – is often seen as more problematic.