GMLPF workshop tackles issues highlighted by Ofsted as needing focus

Greater Merseyside Learning Providers’ Federation (GMLPF) is calling on further education providers to wise up on safeguarding issues.

The local umbrella organisation for skills providers is warning that a ‘tick box’ approach will not result in meaningful ways to reduce the risks posed by radicalisation and extremism.

GMLPF will host a CPD workshop later this month titled ‘Prevent, Safeguarding & British Values: What is Ofsted looking for?

The government published the Prevent strategy in 2011 as part of its overall counter-terrorism strategy. Prevent duty guidance for the further education and skills sector was then introduced in September 2015. This requires all further education and skills providers in England to ‘have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’.

British values are a set of values which were introduced to keep young people safe and promote their welfare. Institutions are expected to encourage students to respect other people and use their leadership to exemplify British values in their management.

Ofsted report

However, an Ofsted report in 2016 highlighted that a number of further education providers are not implementing the Prevent duty successfully.

At the workshop on Wednesday 25 January, GMLPF will help skills providers understand what they are expected to do to fulfil Ofsted requirements and how to keep learners safe.

30 years’ experience

Delivered by Trevor Alley, who has over 30 years’ experience in the further education sector, the workshop will offer providers an informative resource on how to implement and evaluate new strategies; pastoral support and outline Ofsted’s requirements and expectations.

Joanne Rymer, membership development manager at GMLPF, says: “While it is impossible to shield pupils from all forms of extremism and discrimination, we believe that equipping staff with the right tools will allow them to recognise the signs and deal with any issues as and when they arise. It is not enough to simply tick a box to say that your staff have undergone training; it’s about understanding the nature of specific risks in the local community.

“Safeguarding young people is a job for us all and this workshop will detail not only what Ofsted are looking for but how providers can demonstrate the impact their strategies are having on learners.

“Empowering young people to understand the risks that are out there, particularly in the digital realm, is more vital than ever. Those working in education need to put safeguarding and British values at the heart of what they do to ensure success and promote diversity and equality.”

CPD workshops

This workshop is the latest in a series of CPD workshops that are proving popular with GMLPF members.

Emma Sinnett from member Mode Training, says: “GMLPF’s latest CPD workshops are a cost effective way to implement staff development and ensure that new practices and standards are maintained within the skills sector. The workshops focus on different hot topics within the skills sector to maximise staff potential, improve staff morale and promote best practice; we have found them thoroughly engaging and informative so far.”

The workshop will take place on Wednesday 25 January, 9.00 – 16.00. For further information and tickets, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/prevent-safeguarding-british-values-what-is-ofsted-looking-for-tickets-30229534351

For all booking enquiries please contact joanne@gmlpf.net

young people demonstrating

Radicalisation Training in The Headlines

Once again in recent weeks radicalisation hits our headlines – this time with the NUS protesting loudly at the the Government’s stance on anti-radicalisation training for tutoring staff. Yusuf Hassan, the vice-president of student affairs for an umbrella group representing 130,000 Muslim students across the UK and Ireland was quoted in The Guardian as saying:

‘Terms such as radicalisation have not been defined or quantified. It is open to interpretation, leaving us in a difficult situation. It is not, nor should it be within the ability of a student or lecturer to report on extremism of people showing signs of it.’

It’s this kind of challenge that led to GMLPF running radicalisation workshops over the summer. The sessions were designed to help equip our providers and their tutors with the understanding to approach the radicalisation issue with balance and sensitivity.

Spectrum of New Challenges

Following an OFSTED report revealing that radicalisation was a key concern at some schools, the government introduced the ‘Prevent’ strategy and hailed it as as anti-radicalisation initiative. From July 1st the legislation placed an obligation on education and training institutions to extend the safeguarding of students in their care to include anti-radicalisation.

GMLPF’s members are aware that extreme groups often focus their efforts on recruiting the younger generation. But whilst the legal obligation presents new challenges, it doesn’t necessarily change the existing beliefs or attitudes of our members which fundamentally embrace and encourage social diversity.

What Our Members are Doing

Debbie Tagoe, GMLPF Chair and a Director at Mode Training sums up: ‘Of course training providers need to be on the look out for for potentially vulnerable individuals just as much as anybody pushing any kind of propaganda. But the challenge is to develop an approach and ethos which both promotes British values as stipulated by the government, and equally embraces diversity.’

Brian Quinn, operations director at tpm on Merseyside explains: ‘We recognise that early intervention and prevention rather than cure is the best – or perhaps the only – approach. We have always believed that a proactive approach, closely managing situations to ensure a positive outcome, reflects our sense of public duty. To this aim we joined forces with fellow training provider Mode to tackle the challenge of ‘Prevent’ head on through a series of workshops’.

Integrating ‘Prevent’

Moving forward tpm and Mode have action plans which include:

  • Focusing on critical thinking in pupils
  • Ensuring pupils are aware of bias and propaganda, especially online
  • Rewriting of policies and ensuring curriculum plans reflect the appropriate requirements
  • Look for practical ways to embrace diversity
  • Equipping staff with clear steps to take if they encounter a student at risk
  • Encourage a healthy approach to online citizenship and get students to take responsibility for the choices they make

James Glendenning, chief executive of GMLPF adds: ‘The implementation of the ‘Prevent’ strategy needs careful consideration so that acceptance of different faiths and beliefs is not compromised. We always recommend our members promote democracy, anti-extremism, individual liberty and mutual respect.’