The Costello School is committed to providing a secure environment for all of our students and staff. We promote the values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs. We teach and encourage students to respect one another and to respect and tolerate difference, especially those of a different faith or no faith. It is our most fundamental responsibility to keep our students safe and prepare them for life in modern Britain and globally.
We recognise that, as in all schools, there is a risk that students could be drawn in to extremism and radicalisation. Since 2010, when the Government published the Prevent Strategy, there has been an awareness of the specific need to safeguard children, young people and families from violent extremism. There have been several occasions both regionally and nationally in which extremist groups have attempted to radicalise vulnerable children and young people to hold extreme views including views justifying political, religious, sexist or prejudice-based violence, or to steer them into a rigid and narrow ideology that is intolerant of diversity and leaves them vulnerable to future radicalisation.
The Costello School values freedom of speech and the expression of beliefs and ideology as fundamental rights underpinning our society’s values. Both students and teachers have the right to speak freely and voice their opinions. Freedom, however, comes with responsibility and free speech that is designed to manipulate the vulnerable or that leads to violence and harm of others goes against the values of our school, which include equality, human rights, community safety and community cohesion.
The Costello School is clear that extremism and radicalisation should be viewed as a safeguarding concern. We welcome our duty to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This duty is known as the Prevent Duty.
There is no place for extremist views of any kind in our school, whether from internal sources – students, staff or governors, or external sources – external agencies or individuals.
It is imperative that for our students school is a safe place where they can discuss and explore controversial issues safely and in an unbiased way and where our teachers encourage and facilitate this.
Extremists of all persuasions aim to develop destructive relationships between different communities by promoting division, fear and mistrust of others based on ignorance or prejudice and thereby limiting the life chances of young people. Education is a powerful weapon against
this; equipping young people with the knowledge, skills and critical thinking, to challenge and debate in an informed way.
Please listen below to an extract from the Today Programme (Radio 4 Tuesday 14th Feb 17) highlighting the dangers of radicalisation