Supporting pupils and teachers after the Manchester attack
Following the devastating terrorist attack in Manchester, many schools will be dealing with questions and concerns from pupils about what happened and why. It is important for teachers to provide curriculum space to talk about questions and concerns, and challenge misconceptions but not be rushed into a reactive response, particularly while information is still emerging.
Over the past 18 months, ACT and the Expert Subject Advisory Group for Citizenship have provided a number of practical resources to support teaching about senstive and controversial issues and in developing a planned approach to addressing extremism, terrorism and radicalisation through Citizenship.
The Prevent Duty and Controversial Issues: creating a curriculum response through Citizenship has a checklist for teachers that includes guidance on 'Creating a safe Citizenship classroom' for talking about issues which involves:
- establishing ground rules for discussing controversial issues
- getting to know your pupils so you know what issues are likely to be most sensitive for them
- ensuring children know they can say when the are uncomfortable with a topic
- establishing where you will draw a line in conversations and how this will be communicated
- ensuring children understand they have a right to participate in discussions, and a right to be quiet or keep information private.
There are also examples of strategies for teachers to use in the classroom for when discussions become too hot or too cool.
Schools may also find the Case Studies of approaches developed by teachers in the ACT Building Resilence project helpful when planning their curriculum response. This work uses the school context and particular needs of pupils as the starting point. The project found that pupils valued opportunities to engage critically with the issues of extremism and radicalisation and felt knowledge was a form of resilience.
The PSHE Association has also provided some guidance for schools.