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Prevent and Project Orpheus Updates

Project Orpheus and Prevent Update – October 2020

This bulletin reflects the on-going work of Project Orpheus alongside any local or national Prevent updates.

  1. Project Orpheus – March to September 2020
    We have been working with Artevelde University in Ghent, Belgium over the past six months on a training package for professionals and frontline workers. The Controversial Issues package will be part of a series of training modules that will include: Social Bonding, Cyber Awareness and Alter Narratives. Our approach is blending the academic and empirical research alongside practical activities and resources that will be meaningful for those working directly with young people. It is skills driven with the aim of empowering professionals to facilitate discussions and for young people to develop habits of questioning and critically evaluating what is heard, seen and read. We are seeking feedback on these products so if you would like to assist and offer some comments, please contact [email protected] or [email protected]
  2. Out of Schools Settings (OOSS): Portsmouth Pilot Project
    Back in March of this year, Portsmouth City Council was awarded funding to support the launch of new government publications on OOSS. The two new documents support settings with best practice guidance and parents with a list of 14 key questions to ask of providers. The launch of these will be Wednesday 21 October 2020 link to the guidance. Within the city we will be providing training and support for settings, parents and professionals. This will be led by the Portsmouth Safeguarding Children Partnership.
  3. DfE briefing note: How extremists are using COVID-19 to promote disinformation, misinformation and conspiracy theories
    This is a briefing note for senior leaders, teachers and safeguarding leads at schools and further education providers on how extremists are using COVID-19 to promote disinformation, misinformation and conspiracy theories. This non-statutory advice from the Department for Education has been produced to provide a short summary of the extremist response to COVID-19, highlighting the additional radicalisation risks for children and young people and suggested actions for settings to take.
  4. Prevent concerns, training and support
    Both Charlie and myself are still available to deal with Prevent concerns and offer support, advice and training. This can be over the phone, email or via a video call. Prevent referrals must be made via the MASH, please see Portsmouth City Council’s One Minute Guidance on Prevent/Channel
  5. Changes to KCSinE (2020)
    There are a couple of refinements to the above statutory guidance that are worth noting. Annex A contains further information on Preventing Radicalisation with definitions of extremism, radicalisation and now terrorism (p.89). There are hyperlinks to the 3 learning modules from the Home Office (p.91) on Prevent awareness e-learning, Prevent referrals e-learning and Channel awareness e-learning
  6. Far right briefing
    We will shortly be sending out a briefing note to accompany a far right fact sheet that has been produced by Counter Terrorism Police. As you are aware, this is the fastest growing threat in the UK at the moment and there are a variety of groups and emerging groups that are populating this landscape. Much is in the online space through social media, chat rooms and gaming sites, however these groups still use stickering, leaflets and protest gatherings to promote their views.
  7. Internet safety: free assembly from Google and ParentZone
    Google and Parent Zone (who have previously done work in Portsmouth schools) have got together to create an online assembly that focuses on online safety. It is part of the Be Internet Legends series.
  8. DfE working group: revised risk assessment for schools
    I have been working with the Counter Extremism Division within the DfE to look at how schools can assess the risks of radicalisation for their settings. It focuses on the key areas of: Leadership, Partnership, Staff training, IT policies, Building Children’s resilience to radicalisation and Management of Space. If you would like to offer any feedback on this document, please contact me.
  9. Conspiracy theories – QAnon
    Conspiracy theories offer a simplifying model for all that cannot be explained or easily understood. They typically involve an ‘alternative’ explanation for an event or situation to those provided by governments and official international bodies, sometimes suggesting a group, individual or organisation is responsible or hiding information from the public. QAnon is a current conspiracy theory that has moved from the online space into the real world. Largely based in the US, it has reached Europe and the UK. Hope not Hate produced an article around QAnon and the rise of conspiracy theories in the UK which can be found here. The BBC have also produced a video around QAnon available here and a blog linking QAnon theory to the current Covid situation here. Supporting QAnon is not proscribed or illegal in the UK, however in May 2019, the FBI assessed QAnon to a be a domestic terror threat due in part to the actions of some who adhere to the theory committing or planning to commit criminal acts.
  10. Further reading – Professor Lynn Davies, University of Birmingham
    Her short blog looks at educational responses in a pandemic world.

Project Orpheus and Prevent Update – May 2020