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Prevent Strategy and Fundamental British Value

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 4804 words Published: 29th Aug 2017

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The direct governmental policy response to terrorist attack, because, most of the terrorist attacks, are believed to have been perpetrated by [G1]Islamist terrorist (fundamentalist), does give the impression that government has a significant Muslim problem in relation to attractions to violent extremism.[G2][G3][G4]

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The Labour government, in 2003, came up with a strategy to counter terrorism,[G5][G6] with the principal aim of protecting the public, preventing radicalisation, in response to the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.[G7][G8] The strategy also contains measures to prepare for an attack and pursue attackers.[G9] This was before, the coordinated multiple bombing that led to the death of 56 people in London, termed 7/7, because, it happened on the 7th of June 2005, Islamist terrorist were believed to be behind the [G10]attack[so11]. However, after the 7/7 bombing the government launched the specific ‘prevent strategy’, schools and educational institution were brought into it, more funding was allocated to it. The duty of preventing ‘violent extremism’ and a duty of care to students ‘at risk of radicalisation’ was given to schools. In 2011 ‘Prevent Strategy’ was transformed with new power and detailed tasks for schools and universities, by the coalition government. Prominence was giving to safeguarding; schools giving the duty of promoting balanced and wide-ranging curriculum. Part of the changes to the ‘prevent strategy’ is the power giving to Ofsted to inspect schools and sanction staff with extremist views.[G12][G13][G14][G15]

The government issued the revised ‘teachers standard’, with the term fundamental British value (FBV), making its debut, in 2012. Clarke believed FBV came about, because of suspected penetration of Birmingham schools by ‘a politicized strain of Sunni Islam’. [G16]In 2014, schools received guidance on promoting FBV in conjunction with students, spiritual, social and cultural development’. FBV stands for ‘democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs’.[G17][G18]

Education institution, not intelligence gathering organization[G19][G20]

Based on the British journal of Education, we should be less rather, worried about the fact that it might be, therapeuticizing of security that is going on. This suggests that various, governmental policies linking security and education are an attempt to appear to the public, as applying the right medi[G21][G22]cine to terrorism and security. The government wants to [G23]be seen to be singing the right song, in the process using educational institution, and the concern is not about the frequent association of security and resulting legislation with education, but r[G24][G25] system as a political tool to pacify the public[G26] (Durodie 2016). [G27][G28]

The idea that was put forward through the Prevent agenda [G29]is that the danger the UK is from vulnerable people who may be radicalized (vulnerable to violent extremism), this is yet to be challenged (Richards 2011). The question that arises is, what are the criteria for ascertaining those that are susceptible to violent extremism, as well as why they are prone to it? There is no straight forward answer to this questions. Since, this a difficult question to answer, it is then subject to different interpretation by different people, for instance in January 2016 a [G30]10-year-old Muslim boy was questioned [G31]by the police after misspelling terrace as the terrorist in an essay[G32] (BBC, January 2016). This arises because there is no clear-cut way of determining who is vulnerable to radicalization, hence it was subjective from the school point of view. The question I like to ask, is would this boy had been subjected to this ordeal if he were white, and if he is not a Muslim? The action was taken by the school and the police also raise the question of profiling and can lead to the idea that only Muslims are sympathetic towards an extremist idea. Going back to the Irish terrorism, the response from the government was completely different. [G33][G34][G35]This type of policy tends to suggest that, those, who will yield to extremist ideology can be taught out of it, and can never get involve in extremism on their own will. Recent experience completely contradicts this ideology, for example, the person who carried out the attack on the house of common in London on March 22, 2017, acted alone the metropolitan police said, they could not find any evidence that he was radicalized, how was he supposed [G36]to have been educated out of it? Also, can we say all the people who had carried out the terrorist attack are vulnerable people?[G37] The government idea involving schools in the fight against extremism ideology is merely therapeutic at best, based on the evidence available people who intend to join the course of violent extremist are not always vulnerable, but, are usually driven by a passion of fighting against passive injustice and marginalization.[G38][G39][G40]

Prevent strategy does have inadvertent penalties, for instance, [G41]a 15-year-old Hampshire schoolboy was subjected to interview by the anti-terrorist team. His teachers reported him to the police claiming they had ‘safeguarding concerns’ when it was discovered that he visited an ‘extremist’ website on his computer. An expert in the unit set up to deter young people from becoming a member of Izal interviewed Joe and his father. It was surprising to find out that, he was not watching beheading video, he had logged on to Ukip home page. But his misguided teacher, probably, he was overzealous or lack adequate training, considered Ukip to be an embodiment of evil. In Joes’ [G42]words, he had visited the site as well as a film of an English Defence League rally after a debate about extremism in the classroom. The problem with the who process is the fact that both father and son were subjected to terrorist treatment. It is not unconceivable that a program set to prevent radical Islam became the tool that hounded those who are guiltless (Richard). Making schools and teachers agents of anti-radicalization and extremism is an unsettling issue, teachers and schools already had safeguarding duty, to give them extra power can always lead to misuse of power.[G43]

The police also play a pivotal role in executing prevent strategy in schools, this, does appear to damage the confidence of the Muslim communities’ in police and professionals in the education sector (Awan 2012). In December 2009, local police officers visited a nursery in a mainly populated Muslim area of Birmingham, because, it was thought that the children may be at risk of extremism, as part Local police in Birmingham. This is certainly an unwelcoming development, as far as the community involved are concerned [G44](Casciani 2009). This and other incidents mentioned previously, highlighted, the difficulty and the danger of executing Prevent in schools, because, of the unintended consequence of stigmatizing young children. Schools should be left simply as the institution that makes learning possible, provide education and allows creativity, they should not be turned into a government policing agency, making teachers acting like detectives[G45], monitoring signs of extremism in students. The outcome of a survey carried out by Ipsos MORI shows that some schools are not in agreement Prevent Strategy (Phillips, Tse et al. 2011)[G46]

Fundamental British Values (FVB)

The (DfE, 2012), does give teachers the directive not to destabilize fundamental British values, the statement is problematic because it originated from counter-terrorism prevent strategy, and leads to the following questions, what is Britishness, value as well as highlighting the relationship between the state and the teaching profession. Including such term in a document that regulates the teaching profession, does, implies that teachers are now detectives, the state political tool [G47]as well the custodial all that is British. This role as well making teachers role more complex, is also a distraction and may have the potential of taking away valuable teaching time. The idea of fundamental British seems wrong as it was introduced without any debate and so was the sinister racializing consequence as identified by teachers. It would have more appropriate to have a professional dialogue with all the stakeholders in the education sector, before coming up with such policy, it might be that the government sees teachers as a political puppet, and as such, they can be ordered and imposed upon[G48][G49][G50]. Smith suggested that the government method is maintaining status quo by blatantly approving equality by an assimilationist program (Smith 2013). This is contrary to the idea of FBV, that is meant to promote democracy and inclusiveness. It is fair to argue that not all the teachers that teach and work in schools are British if the FBV is exclusive to British, how are they supposed to protect a value that is alien to them, that bring back the question of what is Britishness? are fundamentals British values exclusive to the British? Since FBV and prevent strategy were imposed on teachers, it is impossible for, both, to be teachers and in-service to understand the appropriate method to use in promoting such values and be clear about them without appearing to be programming[G51] or encouraging jingoism in schools and classrooms (Elton‐Chalcraft, Lander et al. 2016)[G52][G53][G54][G55]

The key drive of DfE direction is to inspire head teachers to enthusiastically encourage British values, British law and reject observance of religious law if it [G56]contradicts the law of the land, on one hand, the government is trying to promote diversity and multicultural Britain, and on the other trying to suppress religious law, which might be fundamental to people religious beliefs, this can cause problem in homes where they hold their religious belief very dearly. It gives the impression of[G57] a totalising discourse of civic [G58]jingoism that presents itself as willing to put up with diversity and plurality.[G59]

The modified prevent agenda in 2015, sought to oversee the compliance of the education sector and place the requirement on schools to filter online content as well as put in place policies aimed at preventing a student from being drawn into terrorism. This move is an infringement on an individual [G60][G61]fundamental human right, as it limits the expression of religious views and opinion that may be different what is defined as FBV[G62].[G63]

Although the government try to link extremism and enabling student through the medium of education, there is no direct connection (DCSF, 2008), and the use of traditional, political and military method to deal with the Irish terrorism 20 years ago is completely contrary to the method being used, because, the actors are different, the educational institution was not considered to be part of the therapy than.[G64][G65]

The introduction of FVB in the new standard does change the way in which teachers’ competency are measured from using observable parameters to attaching more importance to values, hence, teachers will now be assessed based on the quality their conceptual interaction between student and the school. [G66]


Theresa May, when she was she was the Home Secretary, did admit that early edition of Prevent policy fell short of identifying threat from extremism; it was not adequate in dealing with extremist ideology that is the biggest challenge the society faces and not measures up to reaching those who might be in danger of radicalization [G67](Gardham 2011), the evidence available is yet to proof otherwise, despite involving education institution in the process of eliminating the risk of radicalization.[G68]


Awan, I. (2012). “”I Am a Muslim Not an Extremist”: How the Prevent Strategy Has Constructed a “Suspect” Community.” Politics & policy (Statesboro, Ga.) 40(6): 1158-1185.

Casciani, D. (2009). “Nursery visited by counter‐terrorism police officer.” BBC News 11.

Durodie, B. (2016). “Securitising education to prevent terrorism or losing direction?” British Journal of Educational Studies 64(1): 21-35.

Elton‐Chalcraft, S., et al. (2016). “To promote, or not to promote fundamental British values? Teachers’ standards, diversity and teacher education.” British Educational Research Journal.

Gardham, D. (2011). “Universities ‘complacent’over Islamic Radicals, Theresa May Warns.” The Telegraph.

Phillips, C., et al. (2011). “Community cohesion and PREVENT: how have schools responded?”.

Richards, A. (2011). “The problem with ‘radicalization’: the remit of ‘Prevent’and the need to refocus on terrorism in the UK.” International Affairs 87(1): 143-152.

Smith, H. J. (2013). “A critique of the teaching standards in England (1984-2012): discourses of equality and maintaining the status quo.” Journal of Education Policy 28(4): 427-448.

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