Prevent Watch

How Shawcross argues for Prevent-led authoritarianism in schools

authoritarianism in schools shawcross prevent report

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This is an excerpt from the People’s Review of Prevent: Response to the Shawcross Review.

In ignoring the facts and arguing for Prevent-led authoritarianism in schools, Shawcross pushes aside the role of local authorities and the Department for Education (DfE) in his review of the Prevent strategy.

As it stands, in the UK, both academies and free schools are the responsibility of the DfE.

Collective worship responsibilities

The requirements for compulsory religious education and daily acts of collective worship (including determinations for other than Christian worship) lie with local Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education (SACRE) in the case of local authority schools. These provide a locally agreed religious education curriculum.

In the case of academies and free schools, the responsibility for agreeing a religious education curriculum and determinations for collective worship other than Christian lies with the DfE.

Shawcross comments that education providers “are not formally monitored for compliance with the [Prevent] duty, which currently falls under the auspices of Ofsted and the DfE, who largely take a reactive approach”.

This is incorrect. There is already separate unit for Due Diligence and Counter Extremism within the DfE and it has been in existence since 2010.

Prevent authoritarianism in schools

Ignoring this fact, Shawcross calls the current arrangements “ambiguous”, and “a potential risk for effective Prevent delivery”.

He takes this manufactured opportunity to then suggest “an independent oversight function to strengthen compliance” across all government departments.

Shawcross’s recommendation is that such a unit would be coordinated through the Home Office through a central, unelected political commissar, the CCE, currently headed by Robin Simcox.

This is another part of his effort to give a stronger political direction to Prevent, with less transparency and accountability, and a more securitised and authoritarian approach to schools than ever before.

In doing so, he has ignored growing bodies of evidence that the Prevent duty in schools is unnecessary and counterproductive, as well as damaging to the welfare and well-being of children.

This is an excerpt from the People’s Review of Prevent: Response to the Shawcross Review.

Photo by Sin on Unsplash.

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