Sophia Sleigh and Kiran Randhawa, London Evening Standard, 23rd July 2015
A pupil at a Hampstead primary school has become one of the youngest children to be referred to a counter-terrorism agency after being deemed at risk of Islamic radicalisation.
Concerns about the child at Fleet Primary School have been escalated to the Government’s Channel project, which was set up in the wake of July 7 bombings in 2005 to identify children likely to be drawn into extremism.
The referral of the child to the programme, run by the Home Office and Association of Chief Police Officers, was revealed by the chairman of governors at the school, Kim Issroff.
At a meeting of Camden council’s children, schools and families scrutiny committee, she said: “The concern is that it is an increasing problem in our community. Unfortunately, there are lots of parents who had a bad experience at school and we are not always able to engage with them. Through community leaders is the way to do it.”
It is believed the behaviour of the child’s parents caused concern among staff which led to the referral to Channel. The initiative is part of the Prevent programme, which identifies those at risk of being drawn into terrorism.
The child’s referral comes as Deputy Mayor Stephen Greenhalgh warned the capital needs to be “extra vigilant” as growing numbers of young Londoners are becoming radicalised online.
Hundreds of children across the UK have been identified as possible future extremists since the Channel project was launched.
Fleet Primary School, near Hampstead Heath, has 230 pupils aged three to 11. Councillor Richard Olszewski, another governor at the school, said it had intervened on other occasions when children were deemed at risk of radicalisation. The concerns were resolved after working with parents.
Mr Greenhalgh, who has previously warned that children under the age of 10 were being “trained to be junior jihadis”, said: “The current threat level in London requires us to be extra vigilant. There are a number of incidences where radicalisation occurs online and parents are unaware of this.”
He said the Mayor’s office has its own board dedicated to preventing radicalisation in schools because “we need oversight over London”.
Fleet Primary School’s website has a page dedicated to “promoting British values” and states that it ensures the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy, Prevent, is regularly reinforced.
It says: “We have a commitment to actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including ‘extremist’ views.”
Camden council said it was unable to comment on the case, adding: “We do not provide information on numbers of local Channel referrals as disclosing this could have an adverse impact on local community relations.”
On Monday, David Cameron unveiled a five-year plan to tackle extremism including giving parents the ability to confiscate their children’s passports and reducing segregation in schools.
Since 2011, Camden has been classed by the Home Office as a “priority area” to tackle extremism through Prevent.
Joseph Watts Political Correspondent, London Evening Standard, 23rd July 2015
Sell off TfL land to fund fare cuts
A SELL-OFF of Transport for London land could net London taxpayers a £20 billion windfall to fund fare cuts and Tube upgrades, a Tory mayoral candidate said today.
Stephen Greenhalgh claims TfL is sitting on hundreds of acres of prime central London development space that could be sold to fund schemes including a blanket three per cent fares cut, which he has promised if elected. TfL has suggested the plan would require £1.9 billion by 2020-21.
But Mr Greenhalgh said: “We could get 20 times that amount from selling land. You would also be able to invest a lot of money into capital projects that TfL want to carry out. TfL needs to stop acting like a developer and concentrate on running its services.”
He believes there are at least 1,000 acres of developable TfL land, worth about £20 million an acre.
A TfL spokeswoman said the organisation has a £16 billion “savings and efficiencies target” for 2020-21 and a plan to maximise revenue from commercial assets, including property, to generate a further £3.4 billion.
She added: “Our modern approach … will give us a long-term sustainable revenue stream now and well into the future, which a one-off sale of all assets would simply not deliver.”