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Statistics vs Socially Conscious Students and a Safer Society

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By Jade Gayle, Extremism and Radicalisation Awareness Project Manager

In 2017, it should be easy to market a free programme that help schools safeguard young people against radicalisation and violent extremism; the need is clear, the duty for schools is statutory and the EARA project is funded by the Department for Education. With over 95% of specialist school staff (that’s safeguarding leads, Heads of PHSE, SEN leads etc.) rating our training as “good or excellent”, programme quality is clearly very strong.

It’s concerning then that in my initial discussions with schools, staff are often unsure if their school can commit to the time required to participate in the programme.

The EARA programme provides free staff, student and whole-school extremism and radicalisation awareness training and resources. The biggest challenge in programme uptake is the lack of time available. Schools and staff are increasingly left to juggle their role in supporting students into adulthood with their league table position.

As a result it is unsurprising that teaching exam technique is often favoured over creating socially responsible and aware young citizens. When school funding and teacher’s pay is connected to data like student grades, educational establishments and their staff are left pressured to prioritise statistics over the more unmeasurable personal needs of students.

Of course school staff care immensely about the social, emotional and developmental needs of their students, it’s just that when teachers are forced to ensure outstanding progress for the hundreds of pupils they teach a week, whilst marking hundreds of books a fortnight, following up behaviour incidents, arranging displays and planning lessons, something has to give.

Thankfully, schools do recognise the value of the project, which has now been delivered in schools in 9 London boroughs. It also helps that the EARA team are willing to work flexibly around the needs of most schools. We still have a limited number of free places available until March 2018, so any interested secondary schools should get in touch ASAP to book their place.

The EARA programme is currently free for secondary schools in 11 London boroughs. Click here to find out if your borough is eligible

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