The ‘Prevent Duty’ (Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015) and its Impact on English Secondary Schools: A View from Leadership
AbstractThe paper considers ‘dialogue’ and seeks to begin to consider what has been succeeded and what has not yet been succeeded with the ‘Prevent duty’ in English secondary schools. In July 2015, a legal duty came into force requiring that ‘specified authorities’ in England, which included schools, show ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. This is popularly referred to as the ‘Prevent duty’. Prevent, developed by the Home Office in 2003 out of full public scrutiny, and only fully operationalised following the 7 July 2005 London bombings, has consistently been the most contentious element of the UK Government Counter- Terrorist Strategy (CONTEST). Four years on, my research aim is to find out how the ‘Prevent duty’ has been enacted by school and college leaders in secondary schools and colleges in England and additionally, to discover to what extent, if any, the ‘Prevent duty’ has ‘securitised’ education and what effect, if any, it has had on free speech in schools. I have rich data from school leaders and schools in various geographical locations. My key findings use the work of Stephen. J. Ball on policy enactment, explore different policy actor positions and consider how Prevent is impacting on schools, on the professionalism of school leaders and on concepts such as ‘free speech’ and ‘securitisation’. Using Michel Foucault to think differently, I place my work in the global context of ‘An Age of Anger’. Can Foucault’s method be helpful in analysing education policy and practice or does such a lens blur our understanding? Is it possible to evaluate the ‘Prevent duty’ in terms of success and failure? How important is dialogue in this field?