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The Implementation of the Prevent duty within Education

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Personal profile


I am Professor of Youth and Policy and Associate Dean - Research for the School of Education and Professional Development at the University of Huddersfield, where I have worked since 1999.

I am a professionally qualified youth and community worker. Prior to joining the University, I worked as a regional manager for a national voluntary youth work organisation and as a regional youth policy and campaigns officer for the government’s Commission for Racial Equality. Since joining the School of Education and Professional Development, I have contributed to sociology and social policy teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, to the professional development of our Youth and Community Work students, to PGR supervision and have been actively involved in research. My research focuses mainly on state policies around young people and multiculturalism, racism, community cohesion, and the prevention of extremism, and particularly on how ground-level policy-makers and practitioners mediate and enact such state policy agendas.

I have developed my research through a number of past and present funded projects created in collaboration with local government bodies in the north of England, with the research findings creating impact by influencing national and regional policy and practice. Recently, I have been Joint Principal Investigator (PI) (with Prof. Michele Grossman of Deakin University, Australia) of the CREST-funded ‘Community Reporting Thresholds’ project which investigated the barriers young adults face in sharing concerns about someone close to them becoming involved in extremism.We are now exploring replication of this work in North America. I was also recentlu a Co-Investigator (with Dr. Joel Busher, Coventry and Tufyal Choudhury, Durham) on a project investigating the implementation of the Prevent legal duty in English schools and colleges.The 2017 reports from both of these projects received significant media coverage and policy-making interest.

Previously, I was PI on an action research project around implementation of community cohesion policies in Kirklees, West Yorkshire and co-PI on a mixed methods investigation of attitudes and dispositions within mainly white, marginalised communities in both Kirklees and Calderdale. I have previously been PI on a Prevent-funded action research project into young people’s feelings about ‘identity’, cohesion and segregation in Rochdale, Greater Manchester and on an evaluation of the first year of Prevent activity in Kirklees, West Yorkshire.

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Multiculturalism and state policy approaches
  • Ethnic segregation, Integration and Community Cohesion
  • Terrorism, political extremism and approaches to prevention, including the Prevent strategy
  • Ethnicity, Identity, marginalisation and young people
  • Youth Work policy and practice
  • Marginalised young people

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Preventing Extremism
  • Ethnic Integration
  • Community Cohesion

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Paul Thomas is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Muslim Social Sciences
community Social Sciences
radicalism Social Sciences
terrorism Social Sciences
group cohesion Social Sciences
multicultural society Social Sciences
anti-racism Social Sciences
radicalization Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2016 2017

Research Output 2007 2019

Deepening divides? Implementing Britain’s Prevent counterterrorism programme

Thomas, P., 2019, Islamophobia and Radicalisation: Breeding intolerance and violence. Iner, D. & Esposito, J. (eds.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan UK, p. 161-178 18 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Open Access
welfare organization

Equality and diversity

Avis, J., Ashmore, L., Dalton, J., Hadwen, D., Lavender, K., Noel, P., Rennie, S., Salter, E., Swindells, D., Terry, R., Orr, K. & Thomas, D., 11 Oct 2018, Teaching in Lifelong learning: A guide to theory and practice. Avis, J., Fisher, R. & Thompson, R. (eds.). 3 ed. london: Open University Press, p. 57-78 22 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Citations (Scopus)

Hopes and Fears: Community Cohesion and the ‘White Working Class’ in One of the ‘Failed Spaces’ of Multiculturalism

Thomas, P., Busher, J., Macklin, G., Rogerson, M. & Christmann, K., Apr 2018, In : Sociology. 52, 2, p. 262-281 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
multicultural society
working class
accompanying medium

The Challenges for British Youth Workers of Government strategies to ‘prevent terrorism’

Thomas, P., 31 Jul 2018, The Sage Handbook of Youth Work Practice. Alldred, P., Cullen, F., Edwards, K. & Fusco, D. (eds.). London: Sage Publications Sage UK: London, England, p. 369-383 15 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Activities 2015 2019

  • 2 Invited talk
  • 2 Oral presentation
  • 1 Participating in a conference, workshop, ...

Kirklees Youth Conference

Paul Thomas (Participant), Kris Christmann (Participant)
24 May 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipating in a conference, workshop, ...

Opening Remarks to Leeds Salon Debate

Paul Thomas (Speaker)
5 Oct 2015

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

A 'Tainted Brand'? Britain's Prevent Programme

Paul Thomas (Speaker)
3 Jul 2015

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

What should schools do about Radicalisation?

David Thomas (Speaker)
1 Jul 2015

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk