Keeping pupils safe: experts lead special workshops

Special workshops conducted by a pioneering North London charity have been held for Year 10 as part of the School’s efforts to keep its pupils safe and guard against extremism.

The workshops were organised by QE’s Head of Pupil Development, Sarah Westcott, as an element within the School’s pastoral development curriculum.

They are being run by the JAN Trust. Based in Wood Green, this charity has drawn plaudits from national politicians including David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Hazel Blears and Boris Johnson.

Dr Westcott says: “The workshops aimed to identify how extremist groups, from the far right through to ISIS, use media to influence and recruit young people. They covered the ways in which young people can be targeted through online forums and how students can protect themselves from being targeted by such groups.”

In addition, the workshops included guidance on how to recognise extremist views and what pupils should do if they suspected a friend or someone else they knew was being radicalised.

“The limits of free speech were discussed, with students asked to consider the difference between a free exchange of views and hate speech,” added Dr Westcott.

""JAN Trust founder Rafaat Mughal has for over 40 years supported and empowered black, Asian, minority-ethnic and refugee women. Her fellow director, Sajda Mughal, who presented the workshops at QE, became determined to work within her community to strengthen the part that women play in building a stronger, safer society after narrowly escaping death in the 7/7 London terrorist attacks of 2005.

Today, while continuing its extensive involvement with women, the trust also works with girls, boys and men, championing social and community cohesion through services including its schools projects and its initiative against forced marriages. In fact, it has worked with more than 10,000 young people and adults in schools across London and the UK.

""The JAN Trust’s website states: “We believe one of the best ways to prevent issues such as violence against women and girls and extremism is by educating our young people so that they are equipped with the skills to safeguard themselves, their peers and their family members.” The trust’s schools training is designed to raise awareness and to deconstruct myths surrounding sensitive topics.
Following the workshops, the trust’s experts are also leading some staff training at QE in December.

The JAN Trust will thus be helping QE fulfil the aims of its safeguarding policy, which include enabling pupils “to have optimum life chances and enter adulthood successfully” and providing “all staff with the necessary information to enable them to meet their statutory responsibilities to promote and safeguard the wellbeing” of the boys.