A new website ‘Educate Against Hate’ to help protect children from the dangers of extremism was unveiled in Tower Hamlets by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan on Wednesday morning. Her announcement, part of a series of measures to combat radical ideologies, was made at Bethnal Green Academy which last year saw three schoolgirls run away to Syria to join ISIS.
The new website aims to give parents, teachers and school leaders advice to protect children and young people from online propaganda and extremist views. The advice has been collated by the government and charities like the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and Childnet.
Mrs Morgan said that ’Educate Against Hate’ would provide teachers and parents with the expertise they need to challenge radical views and keep their children safe. She added: “We are determined to keep children safe in and out of school. Today’s announcement of resources and tougher powers to protect young, impressionable minds from radical views sends a clear message to extremists: our children are firmly out of your reach.”
While at the academy, in Gosset Street, Morgan also announced plans to tackle the problem of unregistered and illegal schools in England. She said that there would be a significant increase in investigations by Ofsted into such schools.
“Our tougher stand against illegal schools will help prevent children from falling under the grasp of extremists. By improving intelligence on where children go when they deregister from schools, we will help prevent future incidents of young, promising children falling under the spell of twisted ideologies.”
Bethnal Green Academy saw three of its female pupils leave for Syria to join ISIS last February. A schoolfriend was thought to have left the previous December but has not been named. The girls were eventually tracked to the group’s stronghold of Raqqa. The families’ lawyer told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme nothing has been heard of them since mid-December.
Bethnal Green Academy Principal Mark Keary said: “Educators have a crucial role to play in protecting children from the threat of radical views and we are delighted to be supporting the launch of the ‘Educate Against Hate’ website – a vital tool for schools and parents concerned about radicalisation.”
The website launch comes one day after the Prime Minister announced plans for a £20 million fund to help teach Muslim women English. The plans were criticised by some, including the shadow home secretary Andy Burnham, for stigmatising Muslim women in particular.
Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, also criticised the move. He said: “This latest funding announcement does not make up for a £160 million reduction in the funds available for teaching English for speakers of other language (ESOL) courses between 2008-2015.”
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