Rejected Prevent training leads to further calls for scrapping the programme

Under Prevent, public sector workers such as teachers have a duty to report "radicalisation".

A Freedom of Information request has revealed over 20 Prevent training products were rejected by the Home Office for “poor quality”. Campaign groups Cage and Prevent Watch have told 5Pillars they think this is yet another reason for scrapping Prevent.

24 training courses designed to help teachers and other public sector workers spot potential terrorists were rejected by the UK’s Home Office for inclusion in a Prevent training catalogue, the Middle East Eye revealed.

In March the Home Office published a catalogue of guidance for implementing Prevent training.

The catalogue also promotes 19 other courses and workshops offered by police forces and other public bodies like charities and by private companies.

Some are free to access while others quote potential costs running into thousands of pounds.

Responding to a Freedom of Information request from Middle East Eye, the Home Office confirmed that 24 products considered for inclusion in the catalogue had failed to meet its selection criteria.

One reason for the rejections was simply “poor quality”.

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Potential damage to commercial interests was the reason the Home Office gave for not revealing the names of the 24 rejected providers, and added it could damage the impact of the providers’ work should they be included in the catalogue in the future.

Earlier this year teachers backed an NUT motion to scrap Prevent
Earlier this year teachers backed an NUT motion to scrap Prevent

Speaking to 5Pillars, Yusuf Tai of Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) said: “The rejection further highlights the rolling out of Prevent to classrooms has been knee jerk and ill thought.

“The consequence, from what teachers have relayed back and what the NUT have said, is that Prevent only leads to suspicion in the classroom and confusion in the staff room.”


Increasing evidence reveals poor quality training courses for Prevent is raising concerns amongst teachers, public sector workers and campaigners.

Half a million frontline public sector workers, such as nurses and social workers, have received Prevent training. There are claims some accredited to deliver such training have themselves had as little as two hours training.

“We know that even in official bodies there is disquiet about the problem of training not equipping practitioners well enough. But this is hardly surprising because the government is saying itself that with two hours training you are considered to have sufficient expertise and confidence to develop courses and deliver training on complex issues,” Bill Bolloten of the Education Not Surveillance campaign network told Middle East Eye.

Mr Bolloten added: “It is not credible and it is potentially harmful. Would they consider two hours sufficient for someone to set themselves up as experts on the risks of gang activity or child sexual exploitation?”

Dr Adnan Siddiqui, director of advocacy group CAGE, told 5Pillars: “The problem of secrecy is one that extends to the very core of Prevent from its formulation and application through to training. The Home Office has repeatedly blocked FOI requests to publish its official training material because ‘it could be discredited’ among other reasons.

“Now widely regarded as a toxic and failed strategy, Prevent, along with its training manuals and catalogues must be scrapped entirely. CAGE is pleased to see the call to abolish Prevent being brought to parliament in an EDM by the Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael, a debate we should all welcome.”

Prevent Watch also released a statement condemning the counter-extremism programme.

The watchdog group stated: “The issue of poor training and training providers is a side issue, the wider issue is the policy itself. The volume of Prevent referrals is in the thousands and yet the referrals to Channel are few, this is evidence of a broken police and not poor training. We have supported over 200 cases, many documented on our website, where the policy has had an adverse effect on individuals and families – many of the case have involved children.

They concluded: “We welcome the Early Day Motion proposed by Alistair Carmichael MP which calls on the government “to scrap the Prevent strategy in its entirety”.

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