From ‘Prevent’ to ‘Enable’

Reclaiming Radical Thinking Spaces Through Democratic Education


  • Kay Sidebottom Lancaster University
  • Kay Sidebottom Leeds Beckett University



Given the increasing pressures on teachers in Further and Adult Education across a range of economic, political and managerial factors, this article argues that inquiry-based approaches to education can open up much-needed transformative learning spaces to the benefit of tutors, students and wider communities.

Through the presentation of a case study, this article suggests that the inclusion of such ‘pro-social pedagogies’ in teacher training programmes will both equip teachers with tools to facilitate dialogue, and provide reflective spaces in which they can consider their own positions regarding challenging education policy.

The case study, a ‘community philosophy enquiry’ into Prevent and Fundamental British Values involving trainee teachers in the North of England, is outlined and the ethical challenges considered. 

The approach taken is based on a posthuman ‘ethics of affirmation’ (Braidotti, 2012) and a nomadic ontology which facilitates change through the joining together of agents for transformation, across a series of on- and off-line rhizomatic assemblages.  The article concludes with recommendations for the further implementation of democratic educational practices such as community philosophy, which allow space and time for discussion and dissent.


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