PREVENT Awareness Training

E-learning Package
Schools & Colleges Version
Accessibility Script 25th October 2018
Prevent Awareness Online Training

This e-learning, developed by HM Government, is an introduction into the risks of radicalisation and the role that professionals and practitioners can play in supporting those at risk.

For many in the Public Sector, completing this training will meet the Prevent Duty requirement, so they are better prepared to safeguard vulnerable people from being radicalised to supporting terrorism or becoming terrorists themselves – whatever form of terrorism they are being drawn to.

This training was launched in 2016 and has been updated in Summer of 2018.

It was developed through consultation with a range of individuals and organisations, including teachers, local authority officials, community-based groups, youth workers and health practitioners.


You have accessed the version related to those working across the Education sector.

Other sectors covered include Local Authority, Mental Health, Prisons and Probation Services. If these are more relevant to your job role, please select the appropriate sector from the welcome screen and then once again access this script for screen readers.


We’ve tried to make this training engaging by using an interactive mix of video, and screen based exercises.

Video scripts will be supplied here as text and any exercises will use descriptors of the activity and base outcomes on the most popular selections from other users accessing the training.


To start with, some collegues give an overview (on video) of their understanding and experiences of working with Prevent:


The first thing that I would always say to a teacher is that there’s nothing to be scared of. You’ve been doing safeguarding for a very long time. It’s exactly the same rules that apply. If you have a concern about a young person, you will go through the same motions as you would for any safeguarding issue.

If you have got nerves about engaging with this agenda and you are concerned about what it might mean, I would suggest that you go back to the very basic safeguarding legislation. Look again at the responsibilities to our children, young people and our vulnerable adults to keep them safe from harm.

Really think about where that sits in your own role and then think about your responsibilities and your duties and how you need to implement that.

When we started talking about equality and diversity 25 years ago, we talked about this golden thread that needed to run through everything that we did, and Prevent and safeguarding is very much the same.

It is very much part of the daily work that teachers do. They are there, they know their young people, they know when something is of concern. And they need to feel confident, and they need to trust their own instincts that they will do the right thing.

Prevent is just part of safeguarding that we do every day within the education sector.

Prevent is looking at students that are finding themselves in situations that possibly they can’t get themselves out of, and it’s actually trying to keep them out of the criminal space. At the point that they are working with Prevent, the young person is being safeguarded; They are not being criminalised, there are no records being kept, they don’t enter the criminal justice system.

It’s about the individual, looking at that individual and the challenges that they face and making sure that we have the correct policies, procedures and protocols to signpost them to the people that can help them. It’s about proportionality. It is about keeping things at the right level.

Right service, right child, at the right time.


Users are then asked to consider why they are taking part in this training.

There are three options. Think about which one might relate to you.

I’ve been told to do it / it’s part of my professional duty

I am currently concerned about radicalisation in relation to a student or colleague

I don’t see how Prevent relates to me, so want to understand that better


The overriding objective of Prevent is to safeguard vulnerable people from being radicalised to commit terrorist-related violence before any such crime is committed, and often it’s hard to see how we as individuals can make a difference in this space.

However, radicalisation is comparable to other forms of exploitation; it is therefore a safeguarding issue relevant to staff working across the public sector, who are well-placed to identify individuals who may be groomed into criminal activity.

Safeguarding against that risk can draw on the same principles as other initiatives designed to protect vulnerable people from harm, such as physical abuse.

As in those situations, you need to feel confident that you can recognise the signs of someone being exploited to radicalisation, understand the network of support available to that person, and share concerns in the correct manner

Prevent isn’t something that works if people just go through the motions: Each Prevent case is as unique as the person it’s trying to safeguard from terrorism-related criminal activity.

And this is an excellent start point to check your concerns and understand what the correct, proportionate response might be.

You will see that what you are already doing with regard to safeguarding is applicable to the Prevent duty, so making a difference in this space should be fairly straightforward.

And this introductory training provides you with an awareness of radicalisation, how it works, and crucially in this instance, what it might look like.

The Prevent Duty applies across the public sector, and it is crucial that those who have one-to-one time with vulnerable individuals understand that they may be the ones who will be the first to notice when that student is potentially at risk.

This package will meet you Prevent Training needs, and will call on practices and procedures that you are already using as part of your wider safeguarding responsibilities, so it may be a useful refresher for many types of referrals.





Radicalisation is the name given to the process that moves a person to legitimise their support or use of violence.

It’s where terrorism begins, and where the work we do today will be focused on.

But what does it look like?

Users are given six images to consider and asked to select two that resonate with them or they feel they have an emotional reaction to.

The scenes depicted are:

  1. Travel Documents that suggest travel to an area of conflict.
  2. Violent symbolism drawn by a child in their school work
  3. Racially antagonistic graffiti – in this case the words Heil Hitler sprayed on a wall of what appears to be a community with different ethnic groups living amongst it.
  4. Somebody accessing far right material on line.
  5. Older men talking to two young boys
  6. A protest march



In all these cases, the user is told that context is key to understanding what we are actually looking at.

All the images could be representing radicalisation but they could also be perfectly innocent – e.g. someone looking at Far Right imagery online for a project or to get a better understanding of what’s happening in the world at large.

Similarly, the image of travel documents – This might represent a concern if someone is thinking of travelling to an area of conflict, however context here is very important.

In such cases the motivation for travel is often well-intentioned, but often misguided, and very dangerous to the individual. Prevent could help by introducing them to someone who could challenge the reason for travel and direct them to routes offering humanitarian aid without putting themselves at risk.

A video helps explain things in more detail:




It’s important to have the full picture.

Given the right context, all the images from the exercise could be representing signs of radicalisation; which means they could be representing terrorism itself.

Because terrorism – and this is especially important with regard to this training – isn’t just the attack.

The attack is like the tip of an iceberg; the part above the surface that we see. But just like that tip, it’s supported by a greater mass below the surface: Hidden activity that builds and builds, leading up to that violence.

That might include criminal acts like finding somewhere to target; getting weapons; raising funds…

All of that activity is terrorism.

And right down the bottom, in the dark waters, most terrorism starts with a vulnerable person becoming attracted to individuals, groups, or causes. New ways of thinking driven by those who want to exploit that person’s trust; who focus in on that person’s grievance or desire, and say they have an apparent means to address it.

The promote ideologies that go against our shared values; that encourage intolerance and even glorify acts of violence.

Those ideologies might claim political views or distort religion to draw vulnerable people in. But whatever the veneer, the objective is the same: to incite someone to support terrorism or perhaps become a terrorist themselves.

That might start with the lure of belonging; a promise of an increased status… the chance to impress their friends; or satisfy a need for excitement and purpose.

Because often those vulnerable to radicalisation feel disillusioned; just like other young people, they are seeking answers, or that chance to re-invent or prove themselves.

And it’s their very willingness for change which means they rarely see that the direction they are heading in, could result them with being charged with a terrorism-related offence.


But we can stop that. We can prevent those under our duty of care being radicalised.

If you or your colleagues recognise when they are feeling especially isolated or lost, professionals and families can work together to listen to that person and offer them solutions; Preventing them feeling such a huge sense of frustration or injustice that they entertain the idea of causing harm to themselves or others.

And often it’s as simple as the right person having a conversation with them, putting forward a different viewpoint. Allowing them to properly explore their feelings and true motivations, whatever type of extremism they are being drawn to.

And this happens way down at the bottom of the iceberg.

Where Prevent sits; working to “prevent people from supporting terrorism or becoming terrorists themselves;” and where you can make a huge difference in safeguarding those who may be radicalised to ultimately commit this terrible crime.





We’ll now start to make this more relevant to you.

Think about who you have most contact time with in your particular educational setting – be that pupils, students or colleagues.

Now think about a time when one of them recently confided in you, or asked for your help.

Or when you have been concerned about them.

What did they do or say that perhaps made you worry about their welfare?


We’re now going to concentrate on changes in behaviour in someone that might give you concern.

Don’t worry about what might be driving those behaviours, please consider the following situations and think about which ones you’d expect to notice, or may have noticed in the past. Which are the most likely?












The circumstances behind these behaviours may not be related to a safeguarding issue.

And taken on their own, they may not be a cause for concern.

The way we establish that is to get a broader view, and be informed about their context.

What do you think is most likely to be driving those changes in behaviour?

Below are 12 potential reasons that have been put forward by front line professionals that have engaged in Prevent training

Which have come to your attention in your professional experience?













Most people in this exercise say they have not come across Radicalisation as a reason for changes in behaviour in a student.

Compared to drivers like bullying, peer pressure, or drug or alcohol abuse, radicalisation is far less likely to be behind concerning changes in behaviour we may notice.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be mindful of it, especially as radicalisation can elicit the same behaviours recognised earlier like unhealthy use of the internet, absenteeism or isolation from friends.

So, how do we explore what’s behind those behaviours, without being counterproductive to our overall safeguarding duty?



The process of radicalisation feeds on emotions.

So the underlying reasons why someone gets involved and stays involved in the process are familiar to all of us…

This may help you to begin to understand why people can become prepared to acts in extreme ways for people or things in their lives they feel strongly about.

One of the unique features of such extremist groups is that they can speak directly to vulnerabilities people may experience at times in their lives. This often involves members of such groups actively seeking to recruit individuals in person either face-to-face or online.

A video of interviews with professionals explains this in more detail.


Radicalisation is a process in which someone gets to the point where they are willing to commit violence on behalf of a particular group, cause or idea, set of ideas. Students particularly may find themselves talking to people online, being associated with groups, clubs, societies, and they might be getting themselves into activities that could lead to criminal activities. And that radicalisation process takes place when individuals who are vulnerable, for so many different reasons, end up being befriended by individuals, by groups, who actually manipulate that vulnerability.

And so the recruiter may pop along and say, “You know what? Actually, I see something in you that we really need. And we need individuals like you to help to lead and to really take a stand on these causes”.

It’s that arm round their shoulder. It’s about giving them the support that they so clearly need at the right time.

Radicalisers are normally very successful because they provide that emotional support that a person sometimes misses in life. So anybody, like teachers, parents, friends, can also have a counteracting pull by having the same kind of regard for the person’s emotional needs.

It’s really diverse in terms of how long it may take for people. So, for some people it may be years, whereas for some individuals, it can be very very short, so literally the matter of a few months.

Initially, through the person who’s being recruited, he or she may not have an “us and them” attitude. But as we know, what the recruiters then go on to do is to plant seeds, which actually, are about them going on to take that more extreme and radical course of action, which, essentially, are going to put them at harm and potentially put others at harm as well.

Ideology is sometimes described as the glue of groups or causes that kind of is the commonality that brings people together. It’s usually about ideas, about how a society or community should be or live their lives. Many ideologies are actually peaceful and non-violent, and so, there’s nothing for us to be concerned about there. The ideologies that we are really concerned about is those that don’t see a place for others.

A terrorist ideology dehumanises a person’s humanity. So what it does, it justifies for yourselves, criminality.

We’ve been working with a lot of young people from a lot of different backgrounds down the years, and, you know, what we’ve found is that very often, take the ideology away and look at what it is that sits beneath it. There are huge similarities, whether it be a young person that’s been drawn into a far-right or a far-left leaning group, or those that have been drawn towards groups that seek to distort the religion of Islam.

In terms of what’s actually pushing and pulling people towards these groups, it can be everything from a traumatic incident, an event that may have taken place early on in their childhood, in their life, it can be something that’s going on in terms of their family.

Let’s take some individuals, who may feel very insignificant in the world, they may feel marginalised, they may feel invisible… That person is aggrieved, angry, frustrated, perhaps confused or lost and looking for steadiness and purpose. Well, the promise of an ideology can really make them feel like their lives can be so much more significant, a sense of belonging, a sense of meaning, a sense of purpose.

And some people may have genuine grievance or feel that there’s injustices that they see these groups or causes as a way of expressing or dealing with. And so, for very good reasons, people might start to listen to those who say, yes, you know, you are on the right track. You, too, can become part of something, become part of a bigger change, and play a meaningful role with all of this. We see people who accept ideas unquestioningly or they don’t really question them or test them, or they go along with them, or they make decisions and end up in a place that they didn’t really think about getting to.

So the recruiter would exploit a person’s lack of connection and make that even more of a disconnect. So, for example, if you’ve got a student that seems to be associated with gangs, a lot of the time, it’s not to actually do the atrocities or the criminal violence associated with that gang; it’s the sense of belonging that they are looking for. It’s all about being part of something and being part of something sometimes exciting.

And for some people, I think excitement itself is the main driver. Aside from things like belonging or identity, or things that may be even deeper, or making a political impact, even excitement alone for some individuals seems to be important.

I think for most people who are being radicalised, they don’t see that as something bad that’s happening to them. You know, they probably see that as almost a good thing because, you know, they’ve got a friend, they’ve got a group that they can identify with. They are being given a cause. They are being given something that they can fight for. So, I guess, given how important some of these groups, causes, ideas are to people’s lives, their sense of identity. We can see how it’s very difficult for some people to leave those things, to step aside, to go back to sometimes the lives that they had before.

Young people are not very good, I don’t think, at hiding things, especially things that might be worrying them, something exciting that’s going on in their lives. And teachers are in an ideal position to actually pick up these changes. And they may very rightly be concerned about them. Sometimes they might see changes in the way in which they are presenting themselves, so it could be the way that they are dressing, some students can be quite vocal.

On the other side, you can have students that go within themselves and become quite quiet. They might see things written on textbooks, on works, symbols. It might even be in just the way that their body language is and the way that they’ve started to behave towards other people.

So there’s all sorts of different ways that these can manifest themselves and all different signs that teachers might pick up.




We’re now going to hear a story, based on true events, of a student who was vulnerable to radicalisation.

Listen out for behaviours or circumstances that give you cause for concern.

In the exercise there are two choices to work with:

One is where a female student (17 years old) has the potential to be drawn to Islamist Terrorism.

The other follows a boy (15 years old) is seemingly being drawn into the ideology of the Far Right.

We have selected to work with the case of the male student


Below are the concerning factors and behaviours in the case study – and the context for each concern.


Decline in standards Callum has poor exam results, and has a talk with his tutor about that. This poor standard of work is likely to be due to the pressures of events at home.


Alcohol Use Callum is bought alcohol by the group and allowed into a pub with them. It is clear that Callum enjoys this, but he is at risk of feeling in their debt as a result; the threat of being excluded from this group would already be a powerful motivator to not question what they ask of him.


Gang Membership It becomes apparent that the gang take the role of parent or guardian in accompanying Callum in his free time at the football games.


Lying to Family Callum lies to his father in order to stay with the group on the night of the fight in the pub.


Attending Meetings Callum starts to attend “secret” meetings with the group in the function room of the pub where extremist views are put forward without challenge or balance.


Scripted Speech It appears that Callum is being presented with, and adopting the language of, some extreme views which are divisive towards his community.

The potency of these views is evident when Callum is warned away from sharing them with people without Tony’s consent.


Unhealthy Use of the Internet


Callum is tasked with working on a website that promoted the group’s ideology


Bullying Callum uses force to get his peers to sign up to the website, as Tony had instructed him to do.


Appearance of Symbols Callum is physically beginning to show is allegiance to the group by adopting and drawing their symbol on his things



It is important we understand what drives behavioural change that causes us concern.

In this case, the following circumstances have isolated Callum, which puts him at risk.


LOSS Callum appears to be missing the relationship with his father, especially as his dad stops going to football matches with his son.


FAMILY UPHEAVAL There has been a breakdown in relations between Callum’s father and mother. While they appear to be trying to mend these, Callum appears to feel isolated from that process.




The conversation with the form tutor suggests Callum is coming to a stage of his life where he’ll need to start to consider the future – and this is given weight by Tony saying he’ll be a leader, and implying Callum’s path need not necessarily require academic success.




Callum is clearly enjoying the opportunity of drinking alcohol in the adult setting of a pub


EXAM/WORK PRESSURE Callum references poor grades in his exams




It is implied that Callum is intimidating other students to support The Young Patriots website



This case study hopefully illustrated that the behaviours we might expect from a person being radicalised are not as unpredictable or unrecognisable as we might have imagined.

It’s therefore possible that you would notice many signs of radicalisation as part of your day to day job.

But this is a complex and sensitive issue, and in any scenario the circumstances and vulnerabilities will be as unique as the person at the heart of it.

Of the behaviours that may cause concern, some may be quite blatant – especially when these are verbal: like a change in language; obsession on a topic; being closed to debate; right through to actually declaring intent to commit violence.

Open, free speech is to be encouraged – people in danger of being radicalised should feel they can question and debate what they are being presented with.

That’s why, time and again, we hear of people vocalising their new ideas with people they admire or respect – and this often includes authority figures like teachers, doctors, and social workers.

And it’s often these same professionals who best placed to first speak to the individual if a concern has been raised, in order to better understand the situation and any risk posed.

A video shows some professionals giving advice on what to do in that situation.


One of the things that students tend to do when they vocalise these subjects is sometimes they are just testing the water with staff. Sometimes, it might be that they are vocalising because they haven’t got the depth of knowledge around what they are really talking about. Some people may almost leak that this thing is beginning to matter to them so much, that they can’t help but talk about it as well.

And there do seem to be those points where they may have doubts or they may have questions. And sometimes, they have had conversations that may, maybe, have re-directed them a little bit from where they were heading as well.

If I had to name one thing that we could do to stop that radicalisation process from taking place, it would be dialogue. I think I would suggest that we speak to the young people, we try and find out what their concerns are and we try and help them.

You know, the first thing we have got to do is listen. We have to dialogue. We have got to engage them at that point. You don’t necessarily validate the negative thing that they are saying or the statement that they have made, but at least affirm the individual. Keep them in the room.

I think these conversations are real opportunities actually to get behind what is really going on, and they’re very important in the first steps. What you’re aiming for really is an open and frank conversation, and there are skills to doing that, but most professionals have those skills already in their toolkit.

I think when you have that conversation, that very initial conversation with students, you need to frame it. We very often take them out of the learning environment, and we normally take them to a quiet office, and we normally have at least two people present, just to make sure that we’ve got that support for each other, and also, normally one of the members of staff is someone that’s known to the student quite well, so we want them to feel comfortable.

We use non-threatening language. We actually just say that this is a discussion just to find a little bit more information about some of the concerns that we may have.

The first that we know about when you speak to a young person and you tell them not to do something is that often that can have the absolute opposite effect. You know, you’ve got all those factors at play, of sort of defiance, and pride, and all those other things that may go along with it.

Potentially wrong things to do are to begin to use labels, let’s say, so to begin to talk about extremism, terrorism… being confrontational as well with individuals, if you believe there are concerns about this, particularly if you feel quite strongly about these kind of issues as well. They are the kind of things that I think you’d need to be very careful about. Not approaching this from a blame position, or a position of, whether intended or otherwise, making somebody feel guilty. Those sorts of conversations tend to close people down.

Approaching it as a well-being conversation, is a much more helpful way. We explain who we are, we explain why we are having the chat but we also say…We always start the chat by saying, this could be a bit of a difficult conversation. We want them to understand our concerns and how some of the topics that we are going to raise during the conversation might be quite challenging. But it isn’t jumping into, let’s talk about ideology or big issues in terms of politics, necessarily with these individuals for different reasons.

You know, one of them being that a lot of people don’t get involved necessarily because of politics of ideologies. There may just be other things going on. And again, from experience and what we know, if you begin to make those assumptions, that can close people down as well. It is a professional conversation. It is about understanding, the same way you would want to get alongside somebody who you thought was being subjected to physical assault or physical abuse or emotional harm, and it doesn’t make a difference really, in some respects, what the subject content is; It’s about the approach and the manner, and the feeling of enabling the other person to speak.

And it is all about breaking down barriers to get them to understand that we are only there to try and support them and to steer them in the right direction. There are many things that they can do and many opportunities that they can take with that passion that does not necessarily need to see them taking an extreme act, which may put them and others at risk.


Whoever the concern originates from, the response needs to be proportionate: Young people of all backgrounds go through phases of transition, so context always has to be considered when assessing a concern.

Be mindful of the Public Sector Equality Duty, follow your organisation’s confidentiality guidelines, and draw on your knowledge and experience when discussing concerns with your colleagues.

Above all be sensitive: You know that seeing a noticeable increase interest in religion or politics is not something to be concerned about. On the contrary, it most likely represents a positive change in behaviour.

It is only if these are coupled with some of the other behaviours that we have discussed, such as use of extremist or divisive language, that you might feel genuinely concerned.

So, trust your judgement in knowing when someone might need help.



Responses for support are proportionate, and rely on the right people being involved in steering people away from radicalisation if that’s what’s required.

To help us understand what that support looks like we’re going to continue Callum’s story – this time picking up from the point when his teacher noticed behaviours that caused her concern.

There is a proven three-step safeguarding procedure for assessing and handling concerns with relation to radicalisation.



First: Articulate what gave you cause for concern.


Who can best help you put that concern into context?


And finally: Who is best qualified to take this forward?

Whatever your role, applying this process will help assess the concern and, when needed, find the correct, proportionate safeguarding support; whether that support is provided by your colleagues or with the help of partner agencies.


To understand how different people can be involved in assessing a concern and finding support, users look at those involved in Calum’s story.

At the start, Callum’s teacher noticed concerning behaviours when she saw the online material he’d posted.

She then shared her concerns with the Head Master

Next the Head Master suggested the Teacher have an exploratory talk to Farah.

And in turn then shared the Concern with Callum’s Parents.



We’ve looked how individual circumstances can make someone vulnerable to radicalisation;

How radicalisation works;

And what the correct response might look like to help that vulnerable individual.

Let’s hear how support was found in the other case study, one where a different ideology might be putting someone at risk



Both case studies we have worked with were based on true events, and followed the response of the teacher in each instance.

Your school or college may have its own policy on who to check or share a concern with.

For many, the best person will be your Designated Safeguarding Lead, so please make sure you have their contact details.

Remember, the risk of radicalisation is very low but your DSL will be able to find the right support when it’s required.

Both case studies used examples from students in secondary school and college education.

However, this is not to say that Prevent cannot find support for those vulnerable to radicalisation at a younger age.

While the circumstances and level of risk can be slightly different in nursery or primary school environments, the advice and skills are very transferable from the case studies you will work on.

If you would like some more detail on experiences working with Prevent in Primary schools, please click to listen to a short video.


There are occasions when it’s decided that the best support for the individual at risk needs to be sourced from Partner agencies.

In these cases such support is provided through a multi-agency safeguarding programme called Channel, chaired by the Local Authority.

Whatever their age, the consent of the individual thought to be at risk is sought before they can receive support from Channel, and where the individual requiring support is under 18, parental consent is always required.

If you would like to know more about Channel, click to hear a short video that explains how Channel works.


Otherwise, this concludes the training package.