Expert view: Impact of anti-terrorism duty on schools will be 'questionable'

From July, schools have a legal duty to prevent students from being drawn into terrorism and leaving the UK to fight abroad, but Hayley Roberts says the impact of the new duty will be questionable

From July 1, all schools will have a new duty under Section 26(1) of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. Yet statutory guidance on the new duty mostly reaffirms existing requirements on schools under various other legislation and guidance. It is therefore doubtful whether the new duty will have any real impact on what schools already do.

The Act follows high-profile media coverage of teenagers who have left the UK to travel to Syria to join Islamic State militants, most notably the three London schoolgirls who left in February. Various institutions, including schools, were criticised at the time for a failure to identify the children being at risk and being slow to react and communicate with other agencies.

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