The Government’s beating crime plan, launched in July 2021, featured a commitment to tackle youth crime by investing in education. This included £15m government funding over two years to pilot a scheme in 22 alternative provision settings in England, working in collaboration with the Department for Education (DfE) and supported by the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Health. We are one of the 22 Alternative Provision Schools which were chosen. The scheme is being rigorously evaluated by RAND, an international research organisation.
Our taskforce consists of two youth workers, two family support workers, a careers coach to help prevent NEET, a youth justice targeted intervention worker seconded from our local authority targeted services for young people, a full-time speech and language therapy service and full-time mental health service. These last two services seconded from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and we are very grateful for their support.
This is our dream team and what is exciting is that all these professionals are co-located on our school premises. It gives us immediate access to the services but also, and perhaps just as importantly, allows us the chance to work closely together, discuss students and address their needs holistically and without having to refer to outside services.
The team will help us to tackle the many other issues which hinder our students from fulfilling their potential; attendance, family issues and importantly mental health issues. We are all aware of the immense demand for mental health help and, accordingly, of the pressure that CAMHs is under. It’s hard to express how fortunate we feel to have full-time on-site access to a mental health professional and a speech language and communication expert. We are at an early stage but we are thrilled at the thought of the difference this will make.
The DfE visited us to monitor progress and made a video of Marshall, one of our students. The video sees Marshall discuss the impact this programme has had on him and, to date, has had over 170,000 views (and a retweet with a positive comment from Gary Lineker no less!). Take a look – (https://bit.ly/3rLe3fC) embed video.