EAST Lancashire MPs have criticised the Government’s anti-radicalisation scheme after claims schools are referring pupils without a valid reason.

Claims have been made that teachers are highlighting children to the Prevent programme because they fear their schools will otherwise be marked down by Ofsted.


Home Office minister Ben Wallace said Prevent can be ‘fine-tuned’ but it has had many successes, including a 15-year-old boy in Lancashire who had been radicalised by the far-right but has now disowned those views and is in mainstream education.

MPs in the area have criticised the inclusion of Prevent programme referrals in Ofsted reports.

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans said: “That’s a perversion of the system. If the schools have no issues with radicalisation then they should not be referring anyone. It is costly and useless.

“They shouldn’t be marked up if they have and they shouldn’t be marked down if they haven’t, there will obviously be issues in some areas more than others.

“The Department for Education has got to be far smarter for referrals otherwise it can be a waste of time.”

Hyndburn MP Graham Jones said: “It seems to me that they are putting the cart before the horse.

“It shouldn’t be included in the Ofsted report.

“The Prevent strategy should not be about meeting targets it should be all about helping the people who need it.”

Simon Jones, who represents the National Union of Teachers for East Lancashire, has said that the latest issue is a reason why the programme has certain issues.

He said: “We’ve had concerns about the Prevent strategy for a long time now.

“It’s the sort of pressure schools are under now from Ofsted reports, they don’t really know what is expected of them.

“It almost causes an unwanted relationship between schools and the community. It is not healthy.”

The Prevent programme is part of the government’s counter terrorism strategy to deter people from supporting terrorism.