Colleges encourage participation, promote tolerance and understanding 18th February 2009: Skills Secretary John Denham has launched a new guidance for Further Education colleges to help them promote mutual respect and understanding and encourage debate around the social challenges posed by the threat of extremism.
The ‘Learning together to be safe’ toolkit contains advice on how colleges can embody the values of openness, free debate and tolerance, and promote them through the way they operate – vital since a large number of young people from a diverse range of backgrounds pass through further education.
The toolkit’s key aims include: raising awareness amongst colleges of the threat from violent extremist groups and the risks for young people; providing information about what can cause violent extremism, about preventative actions taking place locally and nationally and about where colleges can get additional information and advice; helping colleges understand the positive contribution they can make to empowering young people to create communities that are more resilient to extremism, and protecting the wellbeing of students or groups who may be vulnerable to being drawn into violent extremist activity; and providing advice on managing risks and responding to incidents locally, nationally or internationally that might have an impact on the college community.
Mr. Denham said: "Colleges are at the heart of communities, not just as education providers, but as centres that encourage participation and promote tolerance and understanding.
"By fostering these values colleges can help communities develop resilience to those ideologies that promote hatred and violence, and support vulnerable students who may be at risk.
"We hope that the toolkit will provide colleges with additional resources and support to help tackle the threat of violent extremism."
Paul Head, Principal of College of North East London and Chair of the Community Cohesion and Preventing Violent Extremism Champion Principals Group, said: "We all have personal experience which has highlighted that the issues of community cohesion and violent extremism cannot and must not be ignored, and are committed to giving our time to support others in the sector who are facing challenges in these areas.”
The ‘Learning together to be safe’ toolkit is available from: http://www.dius.gov.uk/consultations/con_180209_preventing_violent_extremism.html