Three hundred and seventy teachers have been trained in advanced ‘Wrap’ training
ALMOST 5000 Glasgow teachers have received some form of Prevent anti-terrorism training in 2016 alone, it has been revealed.
The figures were obtained from Glasgow City Council by a freedom of information request submitted by Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (Saac), which campaigns against Prevent and other aspects of surveillance culture in the wake of the so called ‘war on terror’.
Prevent, part of the UK Government’s anti-terrorism strategy, focuses on identifying people at risk of ‘radicalisation’. The controversial programme trains public servants to monitor members of the public, including people in their care, and is currently being rolled out across Scotland. The EIS teachers’ union opposes the implementation of Prevent. 4596 teachers have recieved some form of prevent training through various training programmes.
The FoI also uncovered that 370 teachers had received in-depth Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent (Wrap) training, a leap from just 9 in 2015.
“The authorities are trying to put police officers inside the heads of teachers. It has to stop.” Richard Haley, Sacc
Richard Haley, Chair of Sacc said: “If left unchecked, Prevent will contribute to the spread of racist and Islamophobic ideas and will create a culture of suspicion mainly directed against Muslims. It will poison relations between teachers and students and their families. The clear opposition of the EIS to Prevent is well-founded and welcome, but the response of the EIS to the roll-out of Prevent in Scotland has unfortunately turned out to be too little too late.
“The EIS must now act urgently to boycott any further training and to ensure that members refuse any involvement in any process potentially directed towards reporting students to police for non-criminal conduct. Schools and teaching unions must ensure that teachers are properly informed about their obligations under human rights law and about the potential conflict between these obligations and the Prevent strategy. Teachers must ensure that students and their families are informed that they can refuse to cooperate with Prevent and are advised to avoid discussing any Prevent-related matter – especially with police – without a lawyer present.
“A decade ago, Tayside Chief Constable John Vine said: 'What we have to change is the mindset which questions whether it is appropriate to gather intelligence in schools.' His pilot scheme to put anti-terror police into classrooms provoked an outcry and was eventually dropped. Today, the authorities are trying to put police officers inside the heads of teachers. It has to stop.”
Critics of the Prevent strategy, including EIS teachers, have raised concerns over the strategy’s encouragement to teachers to monitor pupils and report them to authorities. The sings of radicalisation the strategy calls on public servants to look out for are broad and nebulous, and include everything from non-violent political views to dishevelled appearance and withdrawn behaviour.
In September, CommonSpace revealed that staff at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s (NSPCC) trusted Childline service, which vulnerable children can phone for confidential help, are being trained in Prevent.
At the IdeaSpace fringe festival at the 2016 SNP conference last week (15 October), Haley (pictured) said that Prevent implementation was “starting to bite” in Scotland.
Tens of thousands of public sector staff in Scotland are thought to be receiving training in the scheme, which has been the subject of protestation in many areas of civic life, with teachers and university lecturers among other complaining that they are being encouraged to spy on the people in their care.
A spokesman for Glasgow City Council told CommonSpace: “In accordance with guidance from the Home Office, we are using the WRAP training package to help frontline staff identify vulnerable people who may be at risk of being exploited by extremists.
The council has a statutory duty under the 2015 Counter Terrorism and Security Act to ensure we give due consideration to the Prevent strategy and look at how we incorporate it into our overall approach to safeguarding, particularly in relation to vulnerable adults and young people.”
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