Public Statement

Secure Schools – One Piece of the Puzzle

The Campus Educational Trust (CET) notes the announcement that Medway Secure Training Centre will be the site of the first Secure School.

 The CET and its predecessor body, Secure Foundation, has advocated for education to be at heart of Youth Justice for more than a decade and is pleased to have played a role in shifting the debate.

 However, the Trust continues to make the case for a holistic approach that includes community provision for the purpose of ensuring a robust education pathway.


The Trust and its predecessor body, Secure Foundation, have argued for over a decade that education had to be an integral part of any effective youth justice system in a number of reports produced during the intervening period. Specifically;

Details of the Campus proposal are found on the CET website. This proposal was approved by the Department for Education in March 2015 to undertake the pre-opening work under Free School legislation.

These reports proposed a locally based facility that would integrate high quality education, training, accommodation and other services with a secure element and offer the courts an alternative to existing Young Offenders Institutions.

The Trust is pleased that many of the design principles can be found in the Governments  proposal for Secure Schools.  David Chesterton, Vice-Chair of the Trust and the former Chair of the Secure Foundation Advisory Group commented:

‘The Secure school proposal  represents a significant milestone in the debate around youth justice and how the system can best meet the needs of those young people who get into trouble and in doing so reduce the unacceptably high re-offending rate for those convicted. We are pleased that many of the principles we proposed a decade ago have been taken up in this work and will continue to play a role in translating this ambition into reality’.

However, whilst the Trust will continue to work with Government and potential providers in making Secure Schools work we do feel that the exclusive focus of the Secure Schools programme on custody makes it less likely that the Government will realise its ultimate ambition of improving educational outcomes and reductions in re-offending.

Any services in custody has to be to be well integrated with community provision. This will be true of education but also other support services these young people will need if we are to succeed in helping them to turn their lives around. This has to be more than signposting and include developing step-down care that manages the transition from custody to community.

The Trust believes that any education provision in custody, including Secure Schools, has to be seen as part of an overall education pathway.  Continuity of provision and effective handover to and from custodial educators will be essential in supporting and maintaining any progress made.

Andrew Morley, Chair of the Campus Educational Trust said:

‘The CET will continue to engage with any party who shares its commitment to realising a youth justice system that makes our communities safer by delivering better life chances for those young people in contact with the justice system, and so reduce reoffending.

We continue to share our experience and expertise with Government and as part of this continue to make the case for an ecosystem that includes specialist community provision that can deliver the educational and broader support elements of any rehabilitation programme outside of custody.

Despite being disappointed by the Department for Education’s decision in 2017 to withdraw its support for establishing the Campus as a Free School, we are in discussion with a range of partners in delivering this through a different route and so provide an opportunity to prove the value of such provision.’



Andrew Morley



Graham Robb

Acting Executive Director




The Campus Educational Trust is disappointed that the Department for Education (DfE) have withdrawn their support despite all the development work of the last few years and the unequivocal support of partners; the Trust disagrees fundamentally with the reasons that the DfE have given, and we will carry on striving to make it happen.

We believe it significant that this decision follows the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) refusing to provide any assurances around funding despite the Department for Education, Haringey Local Authority and NHS England all doing so. This follows the Ministry of Justice failing to live up to earlier commitments to consider changes in legislation and guidance that could have been helpful in supporting the Campus.

Andrew Morley, Chair of the Trust, said:

‘It is disappointing that government departments have not found a way together to develop an implementation approach, to include a collaborative funding package, for an innovative project that has widespread support and strong evidence base of need.

It is particularly surprising, and frankly concerning, that this decision comes when the Government’s own Serious Violence Strategy claims to ‘focus on early intervention and prevention which can help catch young people before they go down the wrong path, encouraging them to make positive choices’.

If we are collectively incapable of supporting innovation, we will continue to repeat the mistakes of the past – young people will continue to be let down, and local communities will continue to bear the social and financial costs of reoffending behaviour. The local needs analysis estimates a cost to the public purse of over £1.2m for the offending behaviour of one young person, compared to an estimated cost per place at the Campus of £75,000.’


The Trust is today publishing the correspondence related to this decision and relies on this to set out the background to this decision and the Trust’s response to it.

However, the Trust would highlight the following points:

  • The original application for pre-opening was predicated on the board securing the expertise to detail these strategies with the appointment of professional staff.
  • No such concerns were expressed when the Trust was on the brink of signing Heads of Terms for a site in Autumn 2015 and had, with Department for Education (DfE) support, appointed a Principal designate. This site was aborted when it was discovered that it would be impacted by Crossrail. Unfortunately, this had been missed in the initial searches.
  • There is little in the way of national or international proven experience that can provide certainty about the model. To counter this, the Trust took a collaborative approach to design involving a range of providers (including those recommended by DfE), an expert group of educational and youth custody professionals and academics. It is difficult to know what other support could have been secured and the Trust notes that the Secure Schools Programme has sought advice from Campus staff to inform their programme.
  • The Trust proposed arrangements to manage the risks associated with approving Heads of Terms in advance of developing the supporting detail suggesting arrangements for any funding being agreed in principle subject to the involvement of our funders in the appointment of our Principal Designate, a series of Stress Tests at key stages of development and a comprehensive evaluation. This included proposing an asset lock for any capital build with the option of it being a replacement for Haringey’s other education provision in the unlikely event the Campus was not delivered.
  • The Campus, working with partners, have:
  • highlighted and quantified a significant gap in policy and provision for the young people in the youth justice system who are not in settled education or training places
  • engaged community capacity in Tottenham and Haringey ready to be part of the Campus delivery framework
  • modelled the needs of those young people
  • proposed an innovation in terms of education provision which attracted widespread local and national support; and
  • proposed an evaluation strategy to make sure lessons are learned

Free schools were originally designed to promote innovation, but in this case, it is evident that the local commitment to the innovation has been blocked by an inability to secure cross-government partnership, as opposed to mere scrutiny, to bring the Campus to a successful opening.

The Trust is pleased that despite this decision it continues to enjoy strong local support. This being one of the key success measures identified at the start of the process.

This has enabled some ground-breaking work to be done on the needs of the ‘Campus Cohort’ and on how the operational model could work with the community, the Courts, the Police, Schools, Health Providers and with the proposed site in Tottenham.

The Trust is committed to continue to work to meet the needs of these young people and with the support of our partners will look to develop an alternative approach for doing so.

Supporting Correspondence:

12 September 2017- Andrew Morley, Chair of Campus Trust to Justin Russell, Director Prisons, Offender and Youth Justice Policy, Ministry of Justice

12 October 2017- Justin Russell to Andrew Morley

28 November 2017- Lord Agnew, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State to Andrew Morley

10 December 2017- Andrew Morley to Lord Agnew

29 January 2018- Lord Agnew to Andrew Morley


Andrew Morley

Graham Robb
Acting Executive Director


DfE Ministers have made the decision not to proceed with the Campus Project.  Campus Educational Trust is committed to finding innovative ways of providing educational access to this group of young people – the most vulnerable in our society.  We continue to work with partners on ways to meet that goal.

Watch this space.

The MoJ has today published their response to the Lammy Review, which can be viewed here.

It is with great sadness that we have to report that Jane Slowey, one of our Members, passed away on Saturday 7th October. This followed a sudden decline in health during a battle against cancer.


Jane was a long-term friend and partner in our work, having been central to our predecessor initiative – the Youth Offender Academy. As chief executive of the Foyer Federation she worked tirelessly on getting the whole issues of doing youth custody better on the agenda.


She maintained her support through our evolution to The Campus and we will always be grateful to her.


Andrew Morley, Chair

We welcome David Lammy’s report.  It confirms what many working in and around the criminal justice system have suspected about discrimination and bias; but his analysis, and critically his recommendations, provide the basis for action.  The Campus works with young people who have had contact with the criminal justice system and have for some time championed the role of education in providing young people with the opportunities and skills to break away from offending.  We are therefore particularly interested in the recommendation around deferring prosecutions to allow for an intervention.  David is to be congratulated for his work on this and we call on Government to action his recommendations.

Andrew Morley, Chair, Campus Educational Trust

The full report is available here.

A version of this article first appeared in TES in September 2017 and argues that the current state of Youth Custody makes the need to develop new approaches to Youth Justice more urgent than ever.  It says that the Government’s intention to place education at the heart of youth justice is right, but action to deliver this is taking too long.  It highlights work being taken forward by the Campus Educational Trust replicating the Virtual Head Teacher function for Looked after Children to Young Offenders and suggests that this could provide a quicker impact at a lower cost than Secure Schools.

Read the full article here


Here is more evidence of how needs of young people in the criminal justice system can be met by local partnerships supporting the Campus

The Times Educational Supplement carried a two-page feature on the Campus on Friday 6th January. The article highlighted the disproportionate representation of looked after children and those who have fallen through the gaps of the education system in the criminal justice system and outlined how The Campus will provide a new intervention to address the cycle of youth re-offending.

Campus Educational Trust

Review of the Youth Justice System

An interim report of emerging findings

Charlie Taylor

Ministry of Justice

9 February 2016


This report includes the following statement

  1. In addition, the Ministry of Justice is working with the Department for Education to support The Campus Educational Trust as they develop plans for The Campus free school. The Campus would be a completely new type of school for young offenders, and aims to reduce youth re-offending through education.

The Campus Educational Trust welcomes the focus in the Charlie Taylor Review of Youth Justice published today on educational provision as a way to reduce offending and reoffending by some of the most vulnerable and high risk young people.

The key elements of the design of the Campus are:

  • A Free School providing an enhanced curriculum through an educational day until 19:00, 7 days per week and 365 days per year. The school will be for up to 50 young people in the areas served by a specific youth court.
  • An enhanced curriculum for young people working at Key Stage (KS) 3 and 4, aged 11-19 years and convicted by a Court or on release from the secure estate.
  • Mustering the range of specialist provision needed for young offenders – supported accommodation, health including mental health and personal support on transition.
  • To offer the sentencing Court, secure estate and YOTs community provision, and with that further robustness to bail conditions, community sentences and resettlement. It will not be a custodial setting.
  • Meeting the needs of young people, initially within the Youth Justice System, not in education, employment or training (NEET) or with a history of absenteeism and/or permanent exclusions.
  • Working in partnership with Youth Offending Service, referring and supervising young people on orders of court.
  • Providing an opportunity for young people within the Youth Justice System to remain in attendance at The Campus beyond their Order, to achieve personal and educational outcomes.
  • Providing an educational pathway out of offending and to assist in reducing re-offending.

The Campus Free school was approved by the Department for Education in March 2015 after two years of planning. The Ministry of Justice, YJB, Local Authorities and Courts have been fully involved in working out how this new model will work and we anticipate the first Campus will open in 2017.

The Campus Educational Trust plans to open four Campus Free Schools in the life of this parliament in those areas of the country with some of the highest rates of youth reoffending and/or use of custody.

We also welcome the Prime Ministers announcement (8 Feb 2016) that governors of Young Offenders Institutions will be given the same freedoms as the Head Teachers of Free Schools. This will enable the Campus to work in partnership with YOIs on this most innovative of developments.

Our joint partnership work to support and challenge some of the highest risk young people will give them better life chances and minimise the harm they cause to themselves, families and communities.

CET website

Andrew Morley

Chair of the Campus Educational Trust

Graham Robb

Chair of Trustees