Safeguarding in a learning environment is an important topic that all educators and staff members should be well-versed in. It refers to the measures taken to protect students and staff from harm, abuse, and neglect, both physical and emotional. One important aspect of safeguarding is understanding the legal requirements and responsibilities related to it. This includes compliance with laws, regulations, and policies that are in place to ensure that students and staff are protected. In this topic, we will explore the legal requirements relating to safeguarding in a learning environment and understand the importance of being aware of and adhering to these laws. We will discuss the key laws and regulations that apply to educational settings and the responsibilities of educators and staff members in ensuring compliance. Additionally, we will explore the consequences of non-compliance and the best practices for ensuring a safe and secure learning environment for all.
Key elements of safeguarding legislation in relation to a learning environment
This section will provide a comprehensive understanding of the legal requirements to safeguard students and staff in a learning environment and the importance of adhering to these laws.
The Children Act 1989 Section 47
The Children Act 1989 Section 47 is a UK law that outlines the duty of local authorities to investigate instances where a child is believed to be suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm. This section of the act states that if a child is subject to a protection order, in police protection, or is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm, the local authority must make inquiries to establish whether the child needs protection and what steps, if any, should be taken to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare.
These inquiries aim to determine whether the child is at risk of harm and whether any action needs to be taken to protect them. The local authority is responsible for conducting a thorough investigation and gathering all relevant information about the child’s situation, including information from family members, carers, and other relevant professionals.
If the local authority concludes that the child is at risk of harm, they have a duty to take action to protect the child, which may include taking the child into care or placing them under a child protection plan. The local authority must also ensure that the child’s needs are met and that their welfare is promoted.
It is important to note that the duty to investigate under Section 47 applies to all children, regardless of their age, gender, race, or any other characteristic. The local authority must also act in the child’s best interests and involve the child and their family in the decision-making process as much as possible.
The Children Act 2004 Sections 13 and 14
The Children Act 2004 is a UK law that sets out the framework for the protection and welfare of children. Sections 13 and 14 of the act require local authorities to establish Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) to coordinate the work of organisations and individuals in their area to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
The role of LSCBs is to ensure that all organisations and individuals working with children in their area have policies and procedures to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. This includes developing policies and procedures for identifying and responding to children at risk of harm and providing support to children and families.
LSCBs also play an important role in raising awareness of the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, including the importance of early intervention and prevention. They provide training and support to organisations and individuals working with children and young people to ensure that they are equipped to identify and respond to concerns about children’s welfare.
In addition, LSCBs are responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the work of organisations and individuals in their area to improve children’s outcomes. They review the work of organisations and individuals working with children and make recommendations for improvement.
Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 Section 7
The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (SVGA) is a UK law introduced to protect vulnerable groups, including children, from harm by people who are considered to be a risk to them. Section 7 of the SVGA restricts barred persons from participating in a regulated activity relating to children.
A “barred person” is an individual who has been barred from working with children or vulnerable adults by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) because they have been found to have committed certain offences or engaged in unacceptable behaviour that poses a risk to vulnerable groups.
Under Section 7 of the SVGA, it is a criminal offence for a barred person to participate in a regulated activity relating to children unless they have been granted an exception. A “regulated activity” is defined as work or activities carried out regularly with children or vulnerable adults or which provide an opportunity for contact with them. These are specified in regulations made under the SVGA. Examples of regulated activities include work in schools, childcare facilities, and youth clubs.
The SVGA also places a duty on organisations carrying out regulated activities to take reasonable steps to prevent barred persons from participating. This includes checking the DBS status of staff members and volunteers and taking appropriate action if someone is found to be barred.
Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 Section 26
The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (CTSA) is a UK law introduced to strengthen the government’s ability to counter terrorism and protect the country from terrorist threats. Section 26 of the CTSA places a duty on schools to prevent pupils from being drawn into terrorism.
Under this section, schools are required to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and to have regard to the guidance issued by the Secretary of State for the purpose of this duty. This guidance is called “Prevent Duty Guidance for England and Wales” and sets out the steps schools should take to fulfil this duty.
One of the key elements of this guidance is the requirement for schools to promote “fundamental British values” to prevent extremism. Ofsted, the UK’s education and care regulatory body, inspects schools to ensure that they meet their obligations under the CTSA. Ofsted inspections include assessing whether schools promote fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 Sections 2 and 7
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) is a UK law that sets out the general duties of employers and employees to ensure the health and safety of workers in the workplace. Sections 2 and 7 of the HSWA outline the responsibilities of employers and employees for health and safety management.
Section 2 of the HSWA places a general duty on employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their employees and other people who may be affected by their activities. This includes conducting a risk assessment to identify hazards in the workplace and putting in place measures to control those risks. Employers are also responsible for providing employees with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where appropriate.
Section 7 of the HSWA places a general duty on employees to take reasonable care of their health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions. Employees must also cooperate with their employers to fulfil their legal obligations under the HSWA.
The Communications Act 2003 Section 127
The Communications Act 2003 is a UK law regulating public electronic communications networks, including the internet and mobile networks. Section 127 of the act deals with the improper use of these networks, specifically about sending grossly offensive, indecent, or obscene communications that cause annoyance, inconvenience, or needless anxiety to others.
Under Section 127, it is a criminal offence to send any message that is “grossly offensive” or “of an indecent, obscene or menacing character” over a public electronic communications network, including the internet and mobile networks. This includes messages sent via email, social media, and messaging apps.
The act also makes it an offence to send a message that causes “annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety” to another person. This includes any message that is considered to be spam or unwanted commercial communication.
It is worth noting that under this section, the intent of the person sending the message is not taken into account; the message itself is enough to constitute an offence.
The Education Act 2002 Section 176
The Education Act 2002 is a UK law that sets out the framework for the education system in England and Wales. Section 176 of the act places a duty on schools to consult with pupils about decisions that affect them.
Under this section, schools must establish procedures for consulting pupils about matters that affect them, such as curriculum development, school policies, and school improvement plans. The consultation should involve pupils in decision-making and allow them to express their views and opinions.
The Education Act 2002 does not specify the form that consultation should take, but it should be tailored to the pupils’ age, maturity and understanding. For example, for younger pupils, consultation may involve a class discussion, while for older pupils, it may involve a student council.
The Act also requires schools to consider pupils’ views when making decisions that affect them. This means that schools should consider the views and opinions of pupils when making decisions about the curriculum, school policies, and other matters that affect them.
Legal requirements for maintaining the security and confidentiality of information
Maintaining the security and confidentiality of information is an important aspect of protecting individuals and organisations from potential harm. It is essential to ensure that sensitive information is protected from unauthorised access, disclosure, or destruction. In this topic, we will explore the legal requirements for maintaining the security and confidentiality of information.
Data protection legislation is designed to protect individuals’ privacy and personal information. In the UK, the primary law governing data protection is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018), which came into effect in May 2018.
The GDPR and DPA 2018 set out several controls for storing and handling information. These controls include:
- Fair and lawful processing: Personal data must be collected and processed in a lawful, fair, transparent manner.
- Purpose limitation: Personal data must be collected for specific, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a way that is incompatible with those purposes.
- Data minimisation: Personal data must be adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed.
- Accuracy: Personal data must be accurate and kept up to date.
- Storage limitation: Personal data must be kept in a form that permits the identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the data is processed.
- Security: Personal data must be kept secure and protected against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage.
- Accountability: Organisations must demonstrate compliance with the GDPR and DPA 2018, including by having appropriate technical and organisational measures in place.
Data Protection legislation such as GDPR and DPA 2018 controls how information is stored and handled. It requires the data to be processed in a fair, lawful and transparent manner, for specific and legitimate purposes and in a way that is compatible with those purposes. It also requires the data to be accurate, relevant and limited to what is necessary, kept for no longer than necessary and secure against unauthorised or unlawful processing and accidental loss, destruction or damage. Organisations must also be able to demonstrate compliance with the legislation.
Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 Part 5
The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 is a UK law introduced to protect civil liberties and privacy while also strengthening the ability to prevent crime and protect the public. Part 5 of the act deals with criminal records disclosure for anyone involved in activities with vulnerable groups.
Under Part 5 of the act, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) was established to provide a criminal record checking service for individuals who work or volunteer in roles that involve regular contact with vulnerable groups, such as children or adults at risk. This includes roles such as teaching, nursing, and social work.
Under this part of the act, employers are required to check the criminal records of employees and volunteers through the DBS and to disclose any relevant information to the appropriate authorities. This includes information about previous convictions, cautions, and other relevant information.
Individuals who apply for roles that involve working or volunteering with vulnerable groups must disclose their criminal record to the employer or organisation. The employer or organisation is then required to check that information with the DBS.
The act also allows the Secretary of State to make regulations requiring certain roles to be subject to enhanced DBS checks, including additional information such as intelligence and information held by local police forces.
In order to comply with data protection legislation, privacy notices are a key tool for ensuring that individuals are aware of how their personal information will be collected, used and shared. This includes the purpose for which information is to be processed, how data will be collected, how data is kept up to date and the specific details of what the school expects from staff who work with personal data.
A privacy notice should be in place that explains to individuals why their data is being collected, how it will be used, who it will be shared with, and how it will be protected. It should also explain individuals’ rights in relation to their data, such as the right to access, correct or delete their data.
For schools, colleges and training providers, privacy notices need to be in place that specifically addresses how the personal data of pupils and staff will be collected, used and shared. For example, it should explain the school’s legal basis for processing pupil data, such as for the purposes of education and safeguarding. It should also explain the specific data that will be collected, such as names, addresses and dates of birth, and how that data will be used for enrolment, attendance and reporting to education authorities.
Furthermore, the school’s privacy notice should clearly explain how it expects staff to handle personal data, the school’s policy for data protection and how it is enforced, and the disciplinary action that will be taken in case of non-compliance.
Privacy notices ensure that individuals know how their personal information will be collected, used, and shared. These notices need to be in place for schools, explaining the purpose for which information is to be processed, how data will be collected, how data is kept up to date, and the specific details of what the school expects from staff who work with personal data.
Right to access personal information
Individuals have the right to access their personal information under data protection legislation, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) in the UK. This right is known as the “right of access” or “subject access right.”
For students, this means they have the right to access any personal information that is held about them by the school, such as their educational records, contact details and any other personal data collected for education. If students cannot act on their behalf, parents or guardians can do so on their behalf.
In addition, parents have the right to see their child’s educational records, including any personal data that the school holds about the child. This includes information about their academic progress, attendance, and other information relevant to their education.
Schools must provide access to personal data within one month of receiving a valid request. The data should be provided free of charge, but a reasonable fee can be charged for additional copies of the data.
Individuals also have the right to correct any inaccuracies in the personal data held about them and request that their personal data be deleted in certain circumstances.
The Right to access personal information gives students, parents, and guardians the right to access any personal information that is held about them by the school, such as educational records, contact details, and any other personal data collected for the purpose of education. Schools must provide access to personal data within one month of receiving a valid request, and the data should be provided free of charge. Individuals also have the right to correct any inaccuracies in the personal data held about them and request that their personal data be deleted in certain circumstances.
The legal requirements for equality, diversity, antidiscriminatory practice and inclusion in a learning environment
Equality, diversity, anti-discriminatory practice and inclusion are key principles for creating a positive and inclusive learning environment for all students. This topic will explore the legal requirements for these principles in a learning environment.
The Equality Act 2010 protects individuals from discrimination because of certain protected characteristics. These characteristics are:
- Age: The Act makes it illegal to discriminate against someone because of their age, whether young or old. This includes discrimination in areas such as employment, education and the provision of goods and services.
- Disability: The Act defines a disabled person as someone with a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. The Act makes it illegal to discriminate against someone because of their disability in areas such as employment, education, and the provision of goods and services.
- Gender reassignment: The Act makes it illegal to discriminate against someone because they are proposing to undergo, undergo, or have undergone a process (or part of a process) to reassign their sex.
- Marriage and civil partnership: The Act makes it illegal to discriminate against someone because they are married or in a civil partnership.
- Pregnancy and maternity: The Act makes it illegal to discriminate against a woman because she is pregnant, has given birth or is on maternity leave.
- Race: The Act makes it illegal to discriminate against someone because of their race, which includes their colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins.
- Religion or belief: The Act makes it illegal to discriminate against someone because of their religion or belief, which includes not having a religion or belief.
- Sex: The Act makes it illegal to discriminate against someone because of their sex, whether male or female.
- Sexual orientation: The Act makes it illegal to discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation, whether gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual.
The Act applies to all areas of life, including education. It places a duty on schools and educational institutions to not discriminate against individuals on the basis of any of these protected characteristics. This includes a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled students are not at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled students.
Rights of individuals
The Equality Act 2010 gives individuals certain rights to ensure that they are treated fairly, with dignity and respect and protected from harm or insults. These rights include:
- The right to be treated fairly and without discrimination on the grounds of any of the protected characteristics under the Act. This means that individuals should not be treated less favourably than others because of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.
- The right to be protected from harassment and victimisation on the grounds of any of the protected characteristics. This means that individuals should not be subject to unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating their dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
- The right to be provided with reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled individuals are not at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled individuals. This includes adjustments to physical premises, equipment and working arrangements to enable disabled individuals to participate fully.
- The right to access goods, facilities and services on equal terms with others. This means that service providers, such as schools, should not discriminate against individuals on the grounds of any of the protected characteristics when providing goods, facilities or services.
- The right to be protected from discrimination arising from association or perception. This means that individuals should not be discriminated against because they are associated with or perceived to possess a protected characteristic.
The Equality Act 2010 gives individuals certain rights to ensure that they are treated fairly, with dignity and respect and protected from harm or insults.
Several types of behaviour are considered to be unlawful under the Act:
- Direct discrimination: Direct discrimination occurs when an individual is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic. For example, if a teacher refuses to teach a student because of their race, this would be considered direct discrimination.
- Indirect discrimination: Indirect discrimination occurs when a provision, criterion or practice is applied that disadvantages individuals with a particular protected characteristic unless it can be justified as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. For example, if a school has a policy that all students must wear a certain type of uniform, which disadvantages a particular group of students because of their religion, this would be considered indirect discrimination.
- Failing to make reasonable adjustments: The Act requires schools and educational institutions to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled students and staff are not at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled students and staff. This could include adjustments to physical premises, equipment and working arrangements.
- Harassment related to protected characteristics: Harassment occurs when unwanted conduct has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. This includes verbal and physical behaviour related to any of the protected characteristics.
- Victimisation: Victimisation occurs when an individual is treated less favourably because they have complained of discrimination or given evidence in relation to a discrimination claim.
Legal requirements in a learning environment
In a learning environment, schools and educational institutions have a legal responsibility to eliminate discrimination, victimisation and harassment. This includes taking action to challenge discriminatory language or behaviour and taking disciplinary action for persistent discriminatory actions.
- Challenging discriminatory language or behaviour: Schools and educational institutions need to have policies and procedures to challenge discriminatory language or behaviour when it occurs. This could include training staff and students on identifying and challenging discrimination and encouraging individuals to report discriminatory language or behaviour.
- Taking disciplinary action for persistent discriminatory actions: Schools and educational institutions must take appropriate disciplinary action against individuals who engage in persistent discriminatory actions, such as bullying or harassment. This could include, for example, suspension or expulsion for students and dismissal for staff.
- Exemplifying British values in practice: The government has set out a list of British values that schools and educational institutions are expected to promote. These values include democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. Schools and educational institutions must ensure that these values are reflected in the policies and practices that they adopt.
Advancing equality of opportunity is important to ensure that individuals are treated fairly, with dignity and respect and protected from harm or insults. This includes taking steps to ensure that processes for admissions and provision of benefits, facilities or services do not discriminate against individuals on the grounds of any of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.
- Processes for admissions: Schools and educational institutions must ensure that their processes for admissions do not discriminate against individuals on the grounds of any of the protected characteristics. This includes not using selection criteria that disproportionately affect certain groups of individuals and ensuring that any selection criteria are necessary and proportionate to the course or program requirements.
- Provision of benefits, facilities or services: Schools and educational institutions must ensure that the benefits, facilities or services that they provide do not discriminate against individuals on the grounds of any of the protected characteristics. This includes not providing certain benefits, facilities or services to certain groups of individuals and ensuring that any limitations or exclusions are necessary and proportionate.
Fostering good relations is important in creating a positive and inclusive learning environment for all students. It promotes mutual understanding and respect among individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, and protected characteristics.
- Promoting mutual understanding and respect: This includes providing opportunities for individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, and protected characteristics to interact and learn from each other, as well as providing education and training on issues of diversity, inclusion and discrimination.
- Encouraging positive attitudes and values: This includes promoting positive attitudes and values such as respect, tolerance, and understanding towards individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, and protected characteristics.
- Challenging prejudicial attitudes and behaviours: This includes challenging prejudicial attitudes and behaviours that may be directed towards individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, and protected characteristics.
- Encouraging active engagement in community activities and events: This includes encouraging active engagement in community activities and events that promote diversity, inclusion, and understanding.
The legal implications on the worker, if organisational policies on reporting suspected abuse are not followed
When it comes to safeguarding and protecting vulnerable individuals, organisations must have policies and procedures to ensure that any suspected abuse is reported and dealt with appropriately. However, if the worker does not follow these policies, it may have some legal implications.
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) maintains lists of individuals barred from working with vulnerable groups, such as children or adults at risk. These individuals are deemed to be unsuitable for such work due to their criminal record or other information that has come to the attention of the DBS.
If an individual is placed on a barred list, they are prohibited from working or volunteering in certain regulated activities with vulnerable groups. These regulated activities include roles such as teaching, social work, healthcare and working in childcare. If a person who is barred from working with vulnerable groups is found to be working in a role that they are barred from, they will be committing a criminal offence and could face a fine or a prison sentence.
Employers have a legal duty to check the DBS lists before employing someone in a role that involves working with vulnerable groups and also to ensure that they know the disqualification by association.
Sanctions within an organisational policy refer to the actions taken by an employer when an employee is found to have violated the policy on safeguarding and protecting vulnerable individuals. These sanctions are designed to hold employees accountable for their actions and to address any concerns that may have been raised.
Examples of sanctions that may be imposed within an organisational policy include:
- Restrictions placed on an employee’s role and/or activities could include limiting an employee’s access to certain areas or individuals or revoking certain responsibilities or permissions.
- Suspension: An employee may be suspended over protection concerns, pending court action, or concerns regarding conduct. This means that the employee will be temporarily removed from their role while an investigation is conducted.
- Written and/or verbal warning: An employee may be given a written or verbal warning for inappropriate conduct. This serves as a formal incident record and a reminder to the employee to improve their behaviour.
- Placement on a performance improvement plan: An employee may be placed on a performance improvement plan, including further training, mentorship, and regular progress checkpoints. This is to ensure that the employee understands their responsibilities and can improve their performance.
- Withdrawal or dismissal: As a result of an investigation, post a court hearing, non-compliance with restrictions or warning, convictions, or breaching code of conduct or practice, an employee may be withdrawn or dismissed from their role. This is the most severe form of disciplinary action that can be taken and is typically reserved for the most serious violations of policy.
Sanctions within an organisational policy refer to the actions taken by an employer when an employee is found to have violated the policy on safeguarding and protecting vulnerable individuals. These sanctions may include restrictions placed on an employee’s role and/or activities, suspension, written and/or verbal warning, placement on a performance improvement plan and withdrawal or dismissal. These sanctions are designed to hold employees accountable for their actions and to address any concerns that may have been raised.
The key elements of the Prevent Strategy in a learning environment
The Prevent Strategy is a UK government initiative to prevent individuals from being drawn into terrorism. It is one of the four elements of the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy, known as CONTEST. In a learning environment, the Prevent Strategy is focused on protecting students from the risk of radicalisation and extremism. It is designed to support schools, colleges and universities in identifying and providing appropriate support to students who may be at risk of being drawn into terrorism.
Purpose of the Prevent Strategy
The Prevent Strategy is a UK government initiative that aims to prevent individuals from being drawn into terrorism. It is one of the four elements of the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy, known as CONTEST. The Prevent strategy aims to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. It is designed to intervene at the earliest possible stage to stop radicalisation so that people are less likely to engage in terrorist activity.
The strategy focuses on three key areas:
- Responding to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat we face from those who promote it.
- Preventing people from being drawn into terrorism and ensuring that they are given appropriate advice and support.
- Working with sectors and institutions with radicalisation risks that we need to address, including education, criminal justice, faith, health, and the internet.
Fundamental British values
Fundamental British values refer to a set of core values considered central to British society. These values are intended to promote a sense of shared identity and cohesion within the UK and to help protect against extremism and radicalisation. The four fundamental British values are:
- Democracy: This refers to the belief in the value of a democratic political system in which citizens have the right to vote for their representatives and hold them accountable.
- The rule of law refers to the belief in the importance of the rule of law, which ensures that everyone is subject to the same laws and that those laws are enforced fairly and consistently.
- Individual liberty: This refers to the belief in the importance of individual freedom and the protection of individual rights, such as freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and the right to a fair trial.
- Mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs: This refers to the belief in the importance of treating others with respect, regardless of their background, culture or religion. It also promotes mutual understanding, tolerance and respect for different cultures and customs.
Prevent awareness training
In a learning environment, it is important for staff and students to be aware of the risks of radicalisation and extremism and how to identify and respond to them. Prevent awareness training is a crucial tool in achieving this goal. Some of the reasons why prevent awareness training are important in a learning environment include:
- To identify signs of radicalisation: Prevent awareness training equips staff and students with the knowledge and skills to identify early signs of radicalisation, such as changes in behaviour or attitude, so that they can take appropriate action.
- To understand the causes of radicalisation: Prevent awareness training provides an understanding of the underlying causes of radicalisation, such as social exclusion, discrimination, and feelings of marginalisation, which can help staff and students understand and address the underlying issues.
- To develop a safe and inclusive learning environment: Prevent awareness training helps to create a safe and inclusive learning environment by promoting mutual understanding, respect, and tolerance. It also helps reduce the risk of discrimination and marginalisation, which can contribute to radicalisation.
- To meet legal obligations: In the UK, schools, colleges and universities have a legal obligation to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. Prevent awareness training is an important tool for fulfilling this obligation.
- To create safer communities: Prevent awareness training not only helps to create a safer learning environment but also helps to create safer communities by equipping staff and students with the knowledge and skills they need to identify and respond to the risks of radicalisation and extremism.
Following IT policies, including the use of firewalls and usage monitoring systems, is important in a learning environment for several reasons:
- To protect against cyber attacks: Firewalls act as a barrier between a computer or network and the internet, helping to prevent unauthorised access and protect against cyber attacks. Usage monitoring systems also help to identify and prevent unauthorised access or malicious activity on a network.
- To maintain the security of personal data: Learning environments typically hold large amounts of personal data, such as student and staff records. Following IT policies, including firewalls and usage monitoring systems, can keep this data secure and protected against unauthorised access or breaches.
- To meet legal and regulatory requirements: Many countries have laws and regulations to protect personal data, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union. By following IT policies, including firewalls and usage monitoring systems, educational institutions can ensure they are meeting these legal and regulatory requirements.
- To maintain the integrity of the network: Firewalls and usage monitoring systems help to maintain the integrity of the network by identifying and blocking any unauthorised access or malicious activity. This helps to ensure that the network remains stable, secure and reliable.
- To prevent the spread of malware: Firewalls and usage monitoring systems also help to prevent the spread of malware, such as viruses or spyware, by identifying and blocking any malicious software that attempts to enter the network.
Creating a safe space for healthy discussion of conflicting views, raising children’s self-esteem, using age-appropriate terminology, promoting learners’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, and teaching citizenship are all important aspects of preventing radicalisation in a learning environment.
- Creating a ‘safe space’ for healthy discussion of conflicting views: By creating a safe space for healthy discussion, learners are able to express their views and opinions in a respectful and non-threatening environment. This helps to promote mutual understanding and respect and can also help to identify and address issues that may be contributing to radicalisation.
- Raising children’s self-esteem to prevent radicalisation: Low self-esteem can be a contributing factor to radicalisation. By promoting self-esteem, children can feel more confident and secure in their identities and are less likely to be drawn into extremist ideologies.
- Using age-appropriate terminology: Using age-appropriate terminology can help ensure that learners understand and engage with the topics being discussed. It also helps to prevent confusion and misunderstandings.
- Promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of learners: By promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of learners, we are helping to create a sense of shared identity and values and to promote mutual understanding and respect. This can also help to prevent radicalisation by addressing the underlying issues that may contribute to it.
- Teaching citizenship: Teaching citizenship helps learners understand their rights and responsibilities as community members and develop the skills and knowledge they need to participate in society actively. This can also help to prevent radicalisation by promoting a sense of civic engagement and social responsibility.
By focusing on these areas, we can help to create a safe and inclusive learning environment, promote mutual understanding and respect, and address the underlying issues that may contribute to radicalisation.
‘Run, Hide, Tell’ Strategy
The ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ strategy is a guide developed by the UK government to help people prepare and respond to a terrorist attack. The strategy consists of three main actions:
- Run: If it is safe to do so, people should try to get away from the area of the attack as quickly as possible. This means moving away from the danger and finding a safe hiding place.
- Hide: If running is unsafe, people should try to find a safe place to hide. This could be a locked room or a secure area where the attacker can’t see them. They should try to lock or barricade the doors, turn off lights and silence their mobile phones.
- Tell: Once they are safe, people should call the emergency services and tell them what is happening. They should also tell their friends, family and colleagues where they are.
The ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ strategy is designed to be simple and easy to remember so that people can respond quickly and calmly during a terrorist attack. By following this strategy, people can protect themselves from harm and help emergency services to respond more effectively.