How Jigsaw 11-16 supports the Prevent strategy

The Prevent Duty Guidance (revised version 2015) and Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE for 11-16’s:

The Prevent Duty Guidance, published by the Government in 2011, is part of the overall counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST. The aim of the Prevent strategy is to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism by stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.  In the Act, this has simply been expressed as the need to “prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.

The 2011 Prevent strategy has three specific strategic objectives:

  • Respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat we face from those who promote it;
  • Prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support; and
  • Work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation that we need to address.

The Prevent Duty guidance was revised in 2015 and again in 2018.

Protecting children from being targetedSection 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (the Act) places a duty on certain bodies (“specified authorities” listed in Schedule 6 to the Act), in the exercise of their functions, to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This, of course, includes schools within its remit and schools need to work within the strategy framework. The responsibility of the Prevent Duty rests with the leadership team, with the head teacher leading on the implementation of the Duty and the monitoring of its effectiveness in school. Schools will need to work with other agencies and carry out appropriate risk assessments. It is also the responsibility of the school to provide effective training for staff members: this means that, when asked, staff members will be able to say how the school would respond to any concerns they may have, as well as knowing what the Prevent Duty means for schools. A separate policy on Prevent is not needed, but there is an expectation that relevant parts of Prevent will feature in other salient policies. Overall, schools are encouraged to advocate open discussion to help children and young people explore controversial issues within the safety of a secure school environment.

To make it easier for schools using Jigsaw, we have produced some guidance about how Jigsaw helps to support the Prevent strategy.

How Jigsaw supports the strategy

The main way in which Jigsaw offers support is through the adoption of a whole-school approach: specifically, this is where children and young people would be supported in a school that fosters a climate of mutual understanding and respect. One of the aims of the strategy is to equip students with the confidence to reject extremism; and, by following the Jigsaw Approach, they should be able to build the confidence to reject violent extremism, because they are able to recognise not only their own thoughts and feelings, but also those of others – and to question and challenge ideas in a safe and positive way. The Prevent Duty urges local authorities and the police to work with organisations that uphold their values of tolerance, respect and equality, which Jigsaw does whole-heartedly throughout the Programme and Approach.

There are five key strands within the strategy, four of which are directly relevant to Jigsaw and the table below shows how Jigsaw can help.


Strand Key message of the strand Specific associated elements of Jigsaw
Challenging extremist ideology Promote a stronger understanding of faith, culture and history Teachers and students using the Programme use the ‘Jigsaw Approach’ in every lesson; it is the responsibility of every individual class to apply this in their own unique Jigsaw Charter. The intention is that each class will express this in their own way but the approach, and the Jigsaw Charter that articulates it, has at its heart consideration and respect for others and their ideas, the value of learning with and from each other, acknowledging and accommodating a range of different views and perspectives. These open, creative and constructive values contrast the closed and destructive standpoints associated with extremism.

Jigsaw relies on learning approaches which consistently emphasise enquiry, questioning, and critical evaluation. It is significant that in every lesson plan ‘Ask:’ directs the teacher to the open-ended questions that should stimulate the student’s curiosity and encourage reflection on the issues at hand. Working actively to arrive at an understanding and a standpoint that is personal to the individual student always takes precedence over the passive acceptance of prescribed ideas.

Disrupting those who promote violent extremism Supporting institutions on how to identify vulnerable individuals It is worth mentioning that there is a training requirement for school staff here, in the understanding of what to be aware of when doing this work with children and young people. More details about training and mapping opportunities are below.

The scope of the Celebrating Difference Puzzle embraces the successful and positive management of relationships across the interpersonal, social and community levels – and therefore, would have a disruptive effect on anyone trying to promote extremism. Some of the essence of the Puzzle can be seen in these learning outcomes: I can appreciate other people’s opinions and views and know how to rationalise how I feel about them; I can challenge prejudice and discrimination assertively; I can challenge social injustice and inequality; I understand that there are similarities, differences and diversity among people and why this occurs.

Supporting individuals who are being targeted •  Building capacity to identify vulnerable individuals

•  Whole school approach

•  Early preventative work

Jigsaw has been written as a universal core curriculum provision for all students. Inclusivity is part of its philosophy. Every Jigsaw lesson plan is explicitly located within the twin frameworks of, on the one hand, emotional literacy with its five domains, and on the other hand the interconnected realms of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development. Taken together, the attention to these frameworks demonstrates that Jigsaw espouses and promotes a breadth of vision and a level of personal awareness, insight and sensitivity that stand in clear opposition to extremist ideologies. It is impossible to form an extremist world view when Managing Feelings, Empathy, Social Skills are taught and practised in every Jigsaw lesson.

Teachers need to be aware that sometimes disclosures may be made during these sessions, or students may say or do something that alerts a staff member to feel the need to escalate; in which case, safeguarding procedures must be followed immediately. Sometimes it is clear that certain students may need time to talk one-to-one after the lesson ends, and it is therefore important to allow the time and appropriate staffing for this to happen.

The development of self-awareness, social skills, managing feelings, motivation and empathy is contributed to in every Piece. This is mapped on every Piece and balanced appropriately across each Puzzle and year group. It is an invaluable means of helping staff members and students themselves to start preventative work and to identify vulnerability from a young age.

Increasing the capacity and resilience of the community to deal with violent extremism •  Schools working with communities

•  Promotion of positive activities

The whole Jigsaw philosophy is underpinned by the concept of mindfulness. From the very start and throughout the Jigsaw Programme, students are encouraged and helped to develop a capacity for observing their own thoughts and feelings within a context of ‘calming’ and reflectiveness. Mindfulness supports students in regulating their emotions and building emotional resilience and in choosing and managing their responses rather than being caught up in negative and unconsidered thought-flows. Students and adults equipped with this capacity are consequently far less vulnerable to the influence of the narrowly prescribed thinking and unexamined responses that characterise radicalised and extremist ideologies and attitudes. Indeed, mindfulness is a vital tool for life, as it wholeheartedly supports the regulation of emotion and builds emotional resilience.

There are countless opportunities in Jigsaw that promote positive activities and each Piece of learning adds to the process of creating the end product, giving the learning an additional purpose, rather than being an end in itself. Students will know what they are working towards early in the Puzzle, adding motivation to their work.

Addressing the grievances that ideologies are exploiting •  Provides safe places for debate

•  Work to reduce structural inequalities and discrimination

•  Effective anti-bullying

Establishing a safe, open and positive learning environment based on trusting relationships between all members of the class, adults and children alike, is vital. To enable this, it is important that ‘ground rules’ are agreed and owned at the beginning of the year and are reinforced in every Piece – by using The Jigsaw Charter.

In the Puzzle, ‘Celebrating Difference’, there are lesson covering elements such as the nine protected characteristics, social mobility, equality and equity, balance of power, and challenging prejudice and stereotype.

Equally, in the Puzzle ‘Being Me in My World’, students encounter lessons on cultural diversity, influences, cultural norms and prejudice, faith and beliefs, and social groups. Behind the lesson titles we find specific learning outcomes that include: I can appreciate that identities are complex and can change over time; I can appreciate the similarities, differences and diversity of people’s identities; I understand that faith, families, communities and cultures influence identity and can start to identify the influences in my life; I can understand that there are differences between social groups and the influences that social groups can have on people’s choices.

Both these Puzzles, and the others that form the Jigsaw Programme, illustrate that Jigsaw is entirely in line with those principles outlined by the government as ‘British values’ and stands opposed to the radicalisation and extremism that are negative and destructive in nature.


The Jigsaw Team has developed a diagnostic tool that schools can use to identify any gaps in staff and pupil knowledge with regard to Preventing Radicalisation, SMSC, Equality and Diversity, PSHE and British values. A useful starting point for this diagnostic tool is to ask whether, in your school, all teachers embed these elements into classroom practice. If there are any gaps, it may well be worth inviting someone from the Jigsaw team to visit your school and train your staff team. Half- and full-day training/mapping sessions are available. Contact the Jigsaw Team for more details via

by Joanna Feast (Senior Jigsaw Consultant) 2019



To support schools, the Department for Education and Home Office jointly developed a website called “Educate Against Hate” providing teachers, school leaders and parents with guidance and support they need to protect children from radicalisation and extremism. The website also includes advice on how to keep children safe from extremist influences online. Prevent for Further Education and Training (hosted and run by Education and Training Foundation) supports the Further Education sector and Safe Campus Communities (hosted by Universities UK) supports the higher education sector.

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