Anna Cain is Principal of The Boxing Academy, a school in Hackney rooted in the ethos and values of boxing. The Boxing Academy provides an alternative route to education for young people who have been permanently excluded from the mainstream school system. She believes that we need to do more to stop young people going into custody in the first place.
“Once they have gone into custody, it’s probably too late. These are kids who are already damaged, who are taken away from their families and communities and sent away. They may act like the big man, but most of them are terrified most of the time they’re there. What happens to them inside, it puts them beyond our reach. Yes, some kids need a custodial sentence because of what they have done. But for the rest, we need to stop putting children in custody that don’t need to be there.”
The Boxing Academy is different from The Campus. For a start, attendance is voluntary. But it has shown that there is a way to give young people a decent education, even those who have historically been totally disengaged from school and been caught up in crime and violence. For Anna, the key is the ethos of the place.