The Pupil Voice

Recording incidents of extremism and radicalisation


The counter-terrorism and security bill was granted royal assent on 21 February 2015, which places a statutory duty on named organisations, including schools, to have due regard towards the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism.

Ofsted inspects how schools carry out safeguarding and other duties, including the effectiveness of these arrangements to ensure all pupils are safe. This includes the approach in keeping pupils safe from the dangers of radicalisation and extremism, including what is done when suspected pupils are vulnerable.

The most important part of this security bill is ‘keeping pupils safe from the danger of radicalisation and extremism.’

With such a recent surge of activity and emphasis for schools to adopt and embed a prevent strategy within a very short space of time, senior leadership are struggling to educate themselves – let alone their staff and pupils. Educating staff and pupils is extremely important and as best practise prevails, educating through a whole school approach and zero tolerance policy is helping schools to raise awareness and identify incidents of extremism and radicalisation at it’s early stages.

But whilst waiting for education to filter through to schools and training to be delivered to schools on an ever changing and adapting problem, what can be done to strengthen the prevent strategy in a school.

Report and Record.

Providing pupils with a voice and a safe and secure way to report worries or concern’s directly to a school is the most important short-term measure that should be taken within a school. If not a face-to-face reporting route, a technological solution in which students can speak up, is vital in flushing out and raising awareness of incidents as and when they occur. Although students may not understand what extremism or radicalisation truly is, they certainly are at the forefront of these incidents whether they know it or not. By encouraging students to speak about what they see and hear in the community and at school, this may lead to a disclosure, which not only raises awareness but also can save lives.

Having a system in place in which teaching staff and non-teaching staff are able to report and record incidents, as and when they happen, is vital to ensure that any face-to-face disclosures from students can then be evidenced and monitored. Something as simple as a student sharing a personal video or talking about extremist activity in a class, if picked up and recorded by a member of staff, major incidents can be prevented from escalating immediately. Having a reporting system in place also ensures that you are meeting the requirements of Ofsted as part of the prevent agenda.

Sharing best practise within schools and amongst other schools within the community is key in the fight against extremism and radicalisation. Best practise currently being used in over 500 schools across the UK provide pupils with a technological reporting and evidencing platform and app, is through the introduction of tootoot.

www.tootoot.co.uk is a free resource and is the first safeguarding platform that provides your pupils with a safe voice to report incidents and worries directly to your school. Tootoot also allows your staff to record incidents off extremism, radicalisation and many other safeguarding incidents whilst providing SLT with a live dashboard of reports and disclosures as evidence for Ofsted.

To date over 98,000 pupils are protected by tootoot in schools across the UK. Find out more

Written by Michael Brennan on December 17, 2015 09:23

Protecting and safeguarding your school from Extremism

Extremism has suddenly arisen within the compounds of schools across the UK, and pupils are in danger if schools do not provide a channel to report such behaviour or activities.


E-safety grooming extreemismSafeguarding and protecting pupils should be a schools number one priority according to 86% of parents asked in a recent questionnaire. John Hayes, Security Minister and the Department for Education has recently outlined that all schools and staff have a duty to report incidents of extremism, radicalisation and safeguarding.

Yet what measures are schools putting in place to protect pupils and staff against the latest safeguarding threat. Ofsted are focussing heavily on a schools ability to recognise, understand and report incidents of extremism and radicalisation. However services that support the school network are failing to provide adequate answers, resources and training to help schools deal with this new and ever growing threat. SLT teams are being expected to quickly become experts on this new safeguarding issue, yet without a guided support network, how can any school or member of staff be expected to provide the evidence and information required if they don’t know what this is.

Pupils of the 21st Century are at much greater risk than they have ever been. The introduction of technology and social media, and the interaction between cultures has brought pupils closer together than ever before. In order for a school to protect their students is to engage and educate their students around the signs and dangers of radicalisation and extremism particularly when using technology and social media.

One recent method that schools have been adopting to help protect their school pupils is to provide a communication channel to allow pupils to report any incidents of extremism that they themselves may be susceptible to. However a number of schools that have used a communication method have found that it has been most powerful allowing pupils to report and raise concerns for their friends or family members directly to their school. Proactive schools have found that tackling these new issues head on by engaging the wider community to educate have also proven to be an excellent starting point.

This new safeguarding issue within schools is unfortunately one that is going to increase if schools do not put the relevant communication, reporting and action policies in place.

Michael is the founder of Tootoot, the safeguarding application which allows pupils to report incidents such as extremism as well as bullying, racism etc. Find out more.

Written by Michael Brennan on July 14, 2015 13:37

Reporting bullying for the 21st Century

E-safety and Cyberbullying in school - Don’t just rely on face-to-face reporting


Have you ever wanted to be able to report a worry, bullying or other incidents such as sexism or racism directly to your school but you don’t know who to tell, or if you do, you find that your teachers tell you to report it to them or to someone face-to-face?

That’s all well and good if you are confident and feel able to speak up to somebody about everything that is happening to you. But what happens if you're not one of these confident people? What happens if you’re too scared to tell someone face-to-face? What happens if you finally build up the confidence to speak to a teacher, but your bully is standing across the playground, glaring at you? What happens if you are in your room on a Sunday night, too frightened to go to school tomorrow, knowing that before you even see a teacher, your bully will be harassing you on social media or waiting for you at the school gates?

These are just some of the questions that race through school children’s minds of all ages across the UK on a daily basis. The government states that 39% of children don’t know who, where or how to report incidents other than through face-to-face directly to their school! As a result of this, every single day, 16,000 children across the UK skip school because they are unable to report and resolve issues or worries within their school environment.

Too many schools rely on old-fashioned face-to-face methods as a channel for their students - no matter what their age - to report worries, bullying, and safeguarding issues! These issues are only going to grow and develop further unless alternative methods are used within the school environment to encourage school children to speak up. New forms of technology and social media are forever closing the gap between victims and aggressor’s through the form of cyber-bullying. Therefore modern schools and modern societies need to adopt a modern approach to allow children to report incidents and worries such as bullying, as well as problems at home that may be effecting their school lives. Tootoot’s recent research found that; providing 10,000 students with an alternative technological method allowing them to report worries - resulting in a 49% uptake - increased reporting by 6 times compared with that of face-to-face reporting.

I was bullied as a young boy and wanted to help other students to not suffer in silence. I developed tootoot to provide vulnerable students with a voice to report incidents of bullying and other safeguarding worries directly to their school. Find out more.

Written by Michael Brennan on May 26, 2015 10:05


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