What the new counter-terrorism duty means for schools and further education colleges
Total value of project
Paul Thomas, University of Huddersfield; Tufyal Choudhury, Durham University
Duration of project
2016 - 2018
This was the first major mixed-method study into the enactment of the Prevent counter-terrorism in statutory education.
In 2015 the UK government introduced a legal duty requiring that all providers of compulsory education in Britain pay ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.’ This legal duty prompted extensive policy, academic and public debate. This project examined how this much discussed legal duty was being put into practice and the impacts it was having on the ground.
The objective of the project was to empirically interrogate a series of questions about the enactment and impacts of the Prevent duty, derived from key criticisms levelled at the duty.
- To what extent did educators express overall opposition to or support for the Prevent Duty?
- To what extent was the Prevent Duty interpreted by staff in schools and colleges as a straightforward extension of existing safeguarding responsibilities?
- To what extent did staff perceive the Duty to be exacerbating the stigmatisation of Muslim students?
- To what extent did staff perceive the Duty to have a ‘chilling effect’ on classrooms and on student voices?
As the first major empirical study of the enactment of the Prevent counter-terrorism duty in educational settings, the project has had significant impact within academia and beyond. Within academia, it has become a major reference point for subsequent research both on the Prevent legal duty and more broadly on the mainstreaming of PVE policies and programmes.
Beyond academia, the research has influenced policy and practice within the UK government, international civil society organisations and within the education sector within the UK. It has also influenced policy and practice internationally as countries globally examine the role of education within efforts to prevent or counter violent extremism.
Busher, J., Choudhury, T., Thomas, P., & Harris, G. (2017). What the Prevent Duty Means for Schools and Colleges in England: An Analysis of Educationalists’ Experiences. Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University.
Busher, J., Choudhury, T. & Thomas, P. (2019) The Enactment of the Counter-Terrorism ‘Prevent Duty’ in British Schools and Colleges: Beyond Reluctant Accommodation or Straightforward Policy Acceptance. Critical Studies on Terrorism, 12(3), 440-462
Busher, J., & Jerome, L. (eds.) (2020). The Prevent Duty in Education: Impact, Enactment and Implications. London: Palgrave
Busher, J., Choudhury, T. & Thomas, P. (2020) The introduction of the Prevent Duty into schools and colleges: Stories of continuity and change. In J. Busher & L. Jerome (eds) The Prevent Duty in Education: Impact, Enactment and Implications. London: Routledge.
Busher, J. & Jerome, L. (2020) Introduction. In J. Busher & L. Jerome (eds) The Prevent Duty in Education: Impact, Enactment and Implications. London: Routledge.
Jerome, L., Busher, J., Armstrong, M.A., Choudhury, T., da Silva, R., Elwick, A., Fontana, G., James, N., Lewis, J., Robson, J., Svennevig, H., & Thomas, P. (2020) Conclusion: Reflections on the first five years of the Prevent Duty in early years, primary, secondary and further education. In J. Busher & L. Jerome (eds) The Prevent Duty in Education: Impact, Enactment and Implications. London: Routledge.