If you work in the world of Early Years, you may have heard of Prevent Duty.
In this blog, we explore what the term refers to, why it’s important and how to make sure your early years setting remains compliant.
What Is Prevent Duty?
The term Prevent Duty refers to the duty individuals in authority hold to keep the people in their care safe from being drawn into terrorism and extremism. It’s a duty that forms part of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, and compliance and knowledge of it are monitored by Ofsted through their inspection visits.
Because it’s a subject that is not easily understood, Early Years settings and their practitioners must take the time to become familiar with it. Failing to do so might negatively impact overall inspection gradings… Don’t get caught out!
Why Does Prevent Duty Matter?
The purpose of Prevent Duty legislation is to provide professional settings and workers with guidelines to help them safeguard young children in their care.
The hope of using Prevent Duty in Early Years is to begin teaching children early on about the virtues of moral or immoral and acceptable or unacceptable behaviour. Introducing Prevent Duty values from such a young age is important because children are most susceptible to new ideas at this stage. Therefore, they are at risk of early imprinting of dangerous notions that may be harmful throughout their life.
Practitioners working in early years settings need to be vigilant that the children, their families and members of the staff team are not vulnerable to becoming radicalised by having strong safeguarding and supervision policies and procedures in place.
How Can We Implement Prevent Duty Practice In Early Years Settings?
The ‘Fundamental British Values’ that form part of the Prevent Duty are democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs. Teaching these values helps to eliminate discrimination and celebrate inclusion, equality and diversity from an early age.
But how exactly can Early Years professionals teach these values, you might wonder.
Well, likely, you’re already doing more than you think. The EYFS Statutory Framework works to help practitioners focus on social, personal and emotional development in an age-appropriate way, and Prevent Duty is woven right the way through. Personal, Social & Educational Development (PSED) and Understanding The World (UW) are two key areas of the EYFS in which equality of opportunity, anti-discriminatory practice and values that align with the Fundamental British Values are enshrined.
How you can introduce big ideas to small children is infinite. Under the umbrella of democracy, for example, you can encourage children to view their role within the bigger picture of family and in the setting. You can ask them questions to find out their opinions, and get them to listen to each other’s – ensuring the focus is on respecting and valuing views and values that are not the same as their own. By finding ways to celebrate the voices of the children in your setting, you are instilling a healthy respect for others right from the word go.
British values are so much more than Union Jack flags and fish and chips , after all. The values underpinning life in this country involve respecting different faiths and beliefs, not tolerating disrespect, caring for each other and having the courage to challenge concerning behaviours.
What Else Might Ofsted Ask Us About Prevent Duty?
Visiting Ofsted inspectors may ask a range of questions about safeguarding during an inspection. As an Early Years setting, you will be expected to maintain appropriate records to show compliance with your responsibilities and provide reports when requested.
Some of the questions Ofsted ask may include whether the safeguarding practice is effective in implementation. Officers will also expect to observe a correct understanding of the statutory guidelines and that the right policies are in place to implement them.
So, take a look at your own Prevent policy and be aware of your settings’ procedures. All staff should understand what Prevent Duty is and the strategies you have in play within your setting to meet the legislation requirements. Management, as well as practitioners on the floor, are expected to be aware of and understand how your early years setting is remaining compliant and how the reporting process works.
How Can We Report Serious Concerns Of Terrorism Or Extremism?
If you have a concern about a child in your setting, the family of a child or even a member of staff, you can report it to Prevent.
Your designated safeguarding lead will be able to help you with your concerns and support you through making a referral to your Prevent partners or local authority. Alternatively, you can visit ACT Early, the government’s counter-terrorism policing scheme, or call the National Police Prevent advice line on 0800 011 3764 to discuss your concerns
Prevent Duty Is For All Early Years Professionals
Could you relay how your Early Years setting is safeguarding children to an Ofsted inspector? Would the practitioners at your nursery or preschool be able to demonstrate their understanding of the legislation and how it impacts their personal practice in your setting?
Prevent Duty is not just extremism, it encompasses all of the above . And failing to demonstrate adequate safeguarding measures can quickly and negatively impact your Ofsted grading during an inspection.
Ensuring that all staff have a thorough understanding of safeguarding is a mandatory requirement outlined in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework of 2021. It is considered best practice to provide staff with interactive and engaging safeguarding training to enhance their knowledge and confidence in effectively safeguarding the children in their care. By offering comprehensive training, staff members can acquire the necessary skills and expertise to create a safe and secure environment for children.
Prevent Duty is important, and MBK can help take the stress off. Check out our upcoming Safeguarding and DSL training sessions here. And why not keep a set of our Fundamental British Values & Cultural Capital keyring cards handy for a simple, visual reminder?