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Liberal Democrats on Kent County Council

Question by Martin Vye to Roger Gough, Cabinet Member for Education & Health Reform

July 20, 2014 10:50 AM

Given the recent well-publicised measures taken by the Government, OfSTED, and the local authority with regard to certain schools in Birmingham, will the Cabinet Member for Education and Health Reform outline the measures taken by his Directorate to monitor the possible transmission of dangerous extremist views in schools in Kent; and will he list the number of racist incidents logged in Kent schools for each of the last four years?

Answer

Schools and their governing bodies have a duty to ensure that they undertake work to build cohesion within their communities. There is strong evidence that schools in Kent do this work.

The LA does not monitor the transmission of dangerous extremist views in schools in Kent. There has been no indication from schools that there have been incidents relating to the transmission of dangerous extremist views in Kent schools. Schools would alert the LA if any such incidents arose.

Schools are aware of the challenge and risks in relation to safeguarding the wellbeing of young people from grooming and exploitation. A key element of this concerns the transmission of dangerous extremist views. It is expected that schools and governing bodies are able to identify and respond to those who are vulnerable to the transmission of extremist ideas both in relation to young people and staff. No school, in an Ofsted inspection, has been found to be failing or to have a cause for concern in relation to this issue.

Zak Programme

PREVENT is part of an overarching national counter terrorism strategy that aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. The ZAK programme, delivered by Kent Police, was developed through Kent's Prevent Steering Group.

The ZAK team have visited a number of schools across the County and worked with leaders in order to explore the radicalisation of young people and respond through early intervention. Meetings held in Ashford schools and Tunbridge Wells in early spring were well attended by key members of staff from schools in those districts. The ZAK lead officer has also worked on a one to one basis with young people in the county through referrals.

Safeguarding

Kent Safeguarding Children Board (KSCB) is a partnership group that works to promote the welfare of children, and ensure the effectiveness of body's in that purpose. The Education sub-group will monitor schools and education settings to ensure children are getting effective care, and will offer support, advice and guidance in this area.

Cabinet Office Report Recommendations

There was a recent report from the Cabinet Office called Tackling Extremism in the UK that made a number of proposals, including setting out that all schools must expect to be inspected and assessed on measures to protect their pupils from extremist material.

Racial Incidents in Schools

Number of racist incidents reported by schools in the last 4 academic years:

2009/10 - 874 (24 schools did not respond to survey)

2010/11 - 929 (24 schools did not respond to survey)

2011/12 - 749 (73 schools did not respond to survey)

2012/13 - 803 (103 schools did not respond to survey)

The Equality Act 2010 removed the requirement for schools to report racial incidents to the LA. Kent continues to ask schools to voluntarily supply this information in order to support schools to respond not only to racial bullying but all identity based bullying incidents. The data also allows the LA to see trends (if any) in order to provide strategic support and advice. The occurrence of racial incidents is not an indicator of extremist activity.