Young offender institutions and prisons
CfBT's highly regarded education programmes in young offender institutions and prisons make a real difference to a group of particularly vulnerable young people thereby improving their life chances.
CfBT currently works within three young offender institutions (YOIs): in Kent, Middlesex and Surrey. We work with young people aged 15-18 years, who are either on remand or have been sentenced. We employ more than 100 staff across the 'secure estate' in both teaching and support roles. Each year we help more than 2,000 young adults in these YOIs to improve their educational skills, knowledge and achievements.
Our approach in the YOIs emphasises the power of education to contribute to the development of a wide range of learning outcomes, including both students' academic performance but also personal, social and vocational competencies and achievements. We give young people the opportunity to improve their educational, social and life skills in order to make better-informed choices following release – whether they move on to further education, training or employment. Our ultimate aim is to prepare our young people to live crime-free lives where they can fulfil their potential and benefit society.
Disadvantaged young people
According to statistics collated by the Youth Justice Board (YJB), around 150,000 children and young people under the age of 18 enter the youth justice system each year. These young people are some of the most disadvantaged in society. They typically have complex needs: some have mental health needs, many have a history of alcohol or substance misuse, disrupted family backgrounds, school exclusions and a history of care or social services involvement.
The young people in the units where we work predominantly come from London and the south east of England. The majority receive sentences that include education and training orders, and are required to participate in accredited learning activities. They have a high probability of being moved to a different YOI during the course of their sentence which can be very disruptive to the continuity and progression of their education while in custody.
Within a minimum delivery target of 15 hours education per week, we provide a broad curriculum including academic education, employability skills, vocational workshops and outreach provision. Learners are supported by learning support assistants in classrooms, workshops, one-to-one settings and within units dedicated to supporting vulnerable learners. Our programmes must overcome the challenges of varying sentence lengths – from days to years – to deliver appropriate provision.
Working in a challenging environment, CfBT has continued to excel as evidenced in the achievements of the young people and the 'good' and 'outstanding' ratings awarded by Ofsted in recent inspections. Ensuring that we always live up to our values of excellence, integrity, accountability and collaboration is key to the success of our education programmes within young offender institutions.
Where we work
CfBT has been a provider of prison education since 1998 and currently delivers education provision at Her Majesty’s YOIs at Cookham Wood in Kent and Feltham A in Middlesex.