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Young offender education to be provided by academies

Academies and free schools could provide education in young offender institutes (YOI), justice secretary Chris Grayling has proposed. The move could create ‘secure training colleges’ and cut the reoffending rate.

Grayling is due to outline a green paper on the future of youth custody, including improvements to YOI education provision. Latest statistics show 73% of young offenders reoffend within a year of leaving custody, compared to 47% of adult offenders.

YOIs are contracted to deliver 15 hours of education a week for each offender, but often fail to do so. This service is provided on contract by a range of institutions, including further education colleges. The experience of academies and free schools in turning around some of the worst performing secondary skills could be used to improve YOIs.

Grayling said: “Some youth custodial places cost £200,000, five times the cost of sending a child to a top private school. But nearly three-quarters of young people leaving custody reoffend.

“We cannot go on just doing more of the same, pouring more money into a system that doesn't work in the hope of a different outcome. That doesn't make any sense to the taxpayer or to the young people who we should be trying to get back on the straight and narrow.

“I want to see new models, perhaps something like secure training colleges, providing education in a period of detention rather than detention with education as an afterthought. I want young people to get the education and skills they need to turn their backs on crime for good.”

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