Headlines: May 27th, 2010

A report today says children and young people are suffering because of variable standards of support when they move into and out of custody. The report, published by Ofsted, says that while for many children achievements in custody provide the first experience of educational success there is poor initial assessment of learning needs and a lack of preparation leaves children and young people ill-equipped for outside life.

‘Transition through detention and custody’ says poor arrangements to transfer personal information delayed the start of education programmes and it highlights how secure establishments and youth offending teams often fail to develop sustained effective links with mainstream schools, colleges and employers. This meant they fell short in offering the right help to find jobs, accommodation, and training opportunities.

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, said young people moving through the youth justice system needed well co-ordinated education, training and support but she added: “Too often information about young people entering and leaving secure establishments is not good enough to enable organisations to plan effectively and meet their needs. It is vital that youth justice teams, local authorities and their partners learn from the examples featured in this report and consider the recommendations for improvement we have made.”

Today’s report finds that young offenders gain a range of qualifications while they are in custody but it adds that young people transferred between establishments were often unable to complete their programmes or progress to higher level courses. Some children of school age failed to receive an education or training programme matched to their needs and others did not receive their full entitlement to statutory education.