A powerful partnership between Achievement for All (AfA), the Association of YOT (Youth Offending Team) Managers (AYM) and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) has been awarded a Department of Education contract to support young people who offend and who have Special Education Needs (SEN).
Over the next 10 months, the partnership will support all front line professionals working in the youth justice system to transform outcomes for young people who offend (or are at risk of doing so), and who have special education needs. A free to use on line resource will be developed by AFA, and the AYM will hold a series of workshops across the country aimed at staff from Youth Offending Teams and the multi-agency professionals who work in partnership with them. MMU will be responsible for developing the research model, informed by interviews and surveys with young people and their families, YOT staff, and wider professional networks, and also for data collection and analysis.
AfA has been at the forefront of workforce development and evidenced-based change management aligned to SEND reforms. AfA Chief Executive and founder Prof Sonia Blandford said “This is a great opportunity for Achievement for All to extend the application of our work to those who the young offenders in need of educational support that will transform their lives. The partnership assembled for this work will ensure that all areas of the country will be covered with detailed delivery, research and follow up communicated freely to the education and support agencies responsible for change. As a pilot project we will be planning to extend our engagement in this area.”
The AYM is the national association in England for the heads of YOTs and those in management positions in YOTs. AYM Chair Gareth Jones said ‘We are delighted to be working in partnership with AfA and MMU as we know that young people with SEN are over represented in the Youth Justice System and believe the work ahead will be of great benefit to YOTS staff and others professionals in the youth justice system and give them the tools to deal more effectively with young people who offend or are at risk of doing so.”
MMU has a long history of involvement both in SEND and the Youth Justice sectors and run one of the largest SEN Co-Ordinators programmes for English Local Authorities. Dr Hannah Smithson and Peter Hick from MMU said “MMU has a long history of involvement both in SEND and the Youth Justice sectors and run one of the largest SEN Co-ordinators programmes for English Local Authorities. This is a very important project. MMU are delighted to be working with AfA and the AYM in a partnership that will see real change for young people in the criminal justice system. It brings together two areas of expertise for MMU – SEND and youth justice, demonstrating MMU’s ability and commitment to knowledge exchange and partnership working within these areas.”