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.’

 

Contacts:

Andrew Morley

Chair

Andrew.morley@campuseducationaltrust.org

 

Graham Robb

Acting Executive Director

Graham.robb@campuseducationaltrust.org

 

 

CET welcome the vision document compiled for the Secretary of State by the MoJ Secure Schools project team, part of the MoJ’s Offender Reform and Commissioning Group.  Campus welcome our involvement in the thinking and development of this vision and see  ourselves as part of the spectrum of provision linking secure and community provisions.
At the heart of our vision are our desired outcomes/targets
  • Educational attainment and progression
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Reducing offending

Andrew Morley, CET Chair

The BBC’s One Show visited the Alternative Provision School of the Year, managed by one of CET’s Board Members, Anna Cain.

 

Alex Jones described The Boxing Academy as “A unique school that’s developed a hard-hitting approach to keep their pupils on the straight and narrow”

 

The programme is available on the BBC iPlayer until the end of October.

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

 

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.

The Campus Educational Trust (CET) welcomes the Government’s commitment to place education at the heart of the Youth Justice System and is grateful to Charlie Taylor for engaging the Trust as part of his review.

The CET has long made the case that education can be transformational for some young people in helping them break with their offending behavior and provide the opportunities to improve their life chances.

We will follow the development of the Secure Schools with interest and whilst recognizing the challenges stand by to support this by sharing the experience we have gained in developing the Campus Model.

Andrew Morley, Chair of the Campus Educational Trust commenting on the Secure Schools proposal said:

‘We welcome the focus on education but any education provision in custody, including the proposed Secure Schools, has to be seen in the context of the young person’s educational career.

Continuity of provision and effective handover to and from custodial educators will be essential in supporting and maintaining any progress made whilst in custody.

The Campus could play a key role in providing this continuity by providing step down provision for young people coming out of Secure Schools.’

The developing consensus around the importance of education in youth justice provides a real opportunity to make progress in reducing the high rates of youth reoffending.

The CET looks forward to working with local and national partners in bringing about a vision of better life chances for those young people in contact with the justice system who do not have settled education or training placements.

This will not only make our communities safer but also provide opportunities for young people who in many cases have been left behind in educational and well-being measures.

ENDS

Contacts:

Andrew Morley, Chair of CET – Andrew.morley@campuseducationaltrust.org

Graham Robb, Executive Director of CET – graham.robb@campuseducationaltrust.org