Tag Archives: Terrorism

Answering children’s questions about terrorism

What do terrorists want? When will terrorism end?

Children’s questions about terrorism can be penetrating and hard to answer. Many teachers (and parents) will be caught unawares by such questions, uncertain themselves about terrorist motivation and goals and torn between the instinct to reassure and the awareness that Britain is on continuous terrorist alert.

Brilliant Publications has just produced a book  to answer these difficult questions. Talking about Terrorism: Responding to Children’s Questions by Alison Jamieson and Jane Flint is structured around 40 questions that children may ask:

  • What do terrorists want?
  • How can we stop someone becoming a terrorist?
  • Who is keeping us safe in Britain?
  • Why are terrorists so angry and full of hate?
  • When will terrorism end?
Talking about Terrorism - Brilliant Publications

Talking about Terrorism

The authors answer the questions in clear, easy-to-understand language – providing simple, objective explanations and reassurance where possible – while being careful not to raise unrealistic expectations.

As Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of the NSPCC, points out in the Foreword to Talking about Terrorism:

“If we are to reassure our young people, encourage their tolerance of others, and prevent them from being groomed into acts that could hurt themselves or others, we must talk with them and educate them. This book sets out to help teachers do just that.  The Internet and 24-hour news cycle means that it is impossible to shield children from the reality of terrorist attacks. But, with open conversation and clear explanations, we can help them feel safe and know that the world is still a good place.”

The text is interspersed with activities that primary school teachers can use to stimulate critical thinking and encourage creative investigation of key themes. These range from discussions and debates, the use of circle time and hot-seating through to role-play, poetry and music composition, singing and artwork.

Despite the focus on terrorism the authors never lose sight of a core belief in human goodness. They make it a priority to focus on positive actions that children can perform, singly or collectively, to make the world more peaceful. Each section has inspiring stories of peacemaking and reconciliation, about the power of love over hate, of non-violence over violence and the importance of tolerance and respect.

As Iona Lawrence, Director of the Jo Cox Foundation, says in an introductory message to the book:

“Jo [Cox] really did live by the conviction that we have ‘more in common than that which divides us.’ As this book also shows, it is this phrase that can and should guide conversations with children about extremism in all its forms.”


Written by Alison Jamieson, a former consultant to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and Jane Flint, a teacher, whose work in a multicultural school in Beeston, Leeds, at the time of the 2005 London bombings provided the inspiration for the book. Their book, Radicalisation and Terrorism: A Handbook for Addressing Extremism, was published by Brilliant Publications in 2015.


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Filed under Key Stage 2, PSHE, Radicalisation and Terrorism, Teaching Ideas

NSPCC video on terrorism

The NSPCC have produced a really useful video on how to talk to children about terrorism. It  shows that education and discussion are at least as important as prevention and detection.



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Filed under News, PSHE, Radicalisation and Terrorism

Talking to children about terrorism

In the attached podcast, Sima Kotecha from the BBC talks to teachers and students and  Elizabeth Garrett Anderson girls’ school in north London.


The sentiments in the broadcast echo those of Alison Jamieson and Jane Flint in their book Radicalisation and Terrorism: A Teacher’s Handbook for Extremism.

Both the podcast and the book show that schools can play an important role through providing opportunities for discussion and debate.

As Alison Jamieson, an expert in terrorism, explains:

‘One can’t promise children that attacks will never happen again, but one can provide them with reliable and objective information.

It is important for children to understand what terrorists want: they want governments to over react, they want publicity or attention; they want to change behaviour; they want to stir up hatred between different groups of people. Terrorists don’t want us to stand together and feel united. Most of all they want to keep violence and hatred going.

Knowing that terrorism can and does end, as the examples of Northern Ireland and South Africa show, can help address some of the very real fears and concerns that children have today.’


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Filed under Key Stage 3, PSHE, Radicalisation and Terrorism, Secondary school

Explaining Terrorism to Children

This is such a powerful video. François Dufour, the Editor in Chief of Le Petit Quotidien, France’s only national newspaper for children, talks to a group of children about what they want to know and understand, following the atrocious events of last Friday.



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Filed under News, PSHE, Radicalisation and Terrorism

Half of all radicalisation referrals come from schools

Since July, schools have been legally bound to “take steps to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This has resulted in the number of referrals made from the education sector to Channel, the government’s anti-radicalisation scheme, rising from 20 in 2012/13 to 424 last year. According to the Quillam Foundation, however, 80% of these referrals are then thrown out.

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Filed under PSHE, Radicalisation and Terrorism, Secondary school

Talking about terrorism

Yesterday Alison Jamieson, the author of Radicalisation and Terrorism: A Teachers Handbook for Addressing Extremism, was interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland’s Sunday Morning With… programme.

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Counter-extremism lessons should be part of National Curriculum

Today on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme Dr Muhammed Tahir Al Qadri, a Pakistani politician and Islamic scholar, called for British Muslims to be taught ‘peace’ in school to tackle radicalisation.

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Filed under Citizenship, Key Stage 3, National Curriculum, PSHE, Radicalisation and Terrorism