Ofsted is to carry out a thematic review of the implementation of the anti-terrorism Prevent Duty in the FE sector, FE Week can reveal.
Paul Joyce (pictured above), Ofsted deputy director for FE and skills and independent schools, said he had put the idea to chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw.
“I’ve actually proposed to our chief inspector that we do look at prevent and look at doing a survey around its early implementation in the sector,” said Mr Joyce in a webinar hosted by Lsect director and former FE Week editor Nick Linford on October 12.
“I think it is important that we establish very early, in terms of policy, what is working and to get that good practice out. And equally to say what isn’t working — what needs to be done,” he added.
The Prevent Duty, which came into force on September 21, requires FE institutions to put in place policies to prevent potential radicalisation of learners and exposure to extremism.
Questions have been raised about the sector’s readiness for the duty. A survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) of its members in English FE colleges, as reported by FE Week on September 18, found that 45 per cent of those questioned had not had any training in how to stop students being drawn into terrorism.
Mr Joyce acknowledged that many providers “do get nervous” about new legislative requirements such as the Prevent Duty, and outlined what Ofsted inspectors would be looking for when they visited providers.
“What we’re interested in is ensuring that staff are aware of the prevent agenda, that staff are aware of what to do given certain circumstances – if learners were particularly at risk, do they know what action to take? — so clearly, training is a part of that,” he said.
Inspectors would be “particularly interested” in the management of the Prevent Duty, he said.
On the subject of the appropriateness of guest speakers, Mr Joyce said inspectors would ask providers about the processes they follow “to ensure those speakers are appropriate, in terms of subject knowledge and their own standing”.
Ofsted would be looking for examples of good practice, he said, and would aim to “publicise that far and wide to the sector whenever we find it”.
“We’ve made it very clear to our inspectors that this is an implementation year in terms of the requirements of the prevent duty,” he said.
An Ofsted spokesperson said the review had been agreed and preliminary work was under way.