Broadly speaking, the action schools can take falls into two main categories. The first and more interesting is the promotion of positive values. This can be done overtly in assemblies and PSHE or Citizenship lessons, and more stealthily through a pervasive ethos that will inoculate young minds against any insidious messages they might come across. It needn't even address radicalisation directly - young people tend to be most vulnerable to extremism when they believe that mainstream society has little or nothing to offer them, so simply instilling confidence, enterprise and ambition in young people can be the best approach.
At the same time, it's a good idea for schools to look at how they teach critical thinking skills, so that pupils are able to question and then hopefully reject any attempts to indoctrinate them. Do make sure, though, that your whole school ethos isn't undermined by this. If the values you are attempting to instil crumble in the face of some KS3-level critical thinking, you may need to look again at what ethos you are trying to promote. The Government may be content to trumpet nebulous "British values" and make up with volume what they lack in coherence, but those working face to face with real, thinking young people need to apply some genuine rigour.
The second part of the Prevent duty is the safeguarding part. This is the unglamorous part, which involves training, form-filling, vetting, record keeping and steady low-level vigilance. Here, much like with fire safety and other safeguarding work, the obligations suffer from a vast chasm between what teachers have to do and the potential consequences if they don't do it. It's hard to imagine, as you fill in a form about a visiting speaker or follow up an absence, that failure to do your duty could set off a chain that ends in bombing or beheading. Yet that is how safeguarding works: the accumulation of small, conscientious contributions builds up a chain-link fence that stops disaster from getting through. Or if you don't like the fence analogy, you might picture a set of scales where 22.3 tons of feathers on one side balance out a fully grown, raging brontosaurus on the other.
Staff can be reassured that every time they check something, question something, refer something, or follow something up, they're adding a feather to the right side of the scales. The trouble is, though, that these small duties all take up time, and the more routine they become, the harder it is to give them the attention they deserve. That's why it's important to make things as easy as possible for everyone in the school to do what's expected of them.
This week, Pearson Publishing launched Respect and Prevent, an online resource written by Kamal Hanif that is designed to smooth out every aspect of the Prevent duty. For example, it offers time-saving templates and forms to help with the administrative side, sample policies to help get documentation in order quickly, and a whole school audit to make sure everything is as it should be. There is also useful guidance and links to help bring staff up to speed quickly, without the need for training.
You can see a demo online at www.pearsonpublishing.co.uk/respect. For full information, or to place an order, see www.pearsonpublishing.co.uk/education/catalogue/709189.html.