The link between exclusion and criminality is well known to professionals working in the youth justice system. Following on from a two year DfE contract, the education charity Achievement for All (AfA) and the Association of Youth Offending Team Managers (AYM), are working hard to change perceptions, develop practice and reduce the number of young people with complex needs from entering the youth justice system.
We encourage Local Authority area partnerships to forensically analyse “pathways to criminalisation”, which may include formal permanent exclusion, “off-rolling” and other forms of informal exclusion (such as persuading parents to “choose” home education as an alternative to permanent exclusion), or the failure to identify and meet special education needs. We have developed a set of quality standards that over fifty Local Authority partnerships now use to help improve partnership working between Education, health, social care and the police: despite the national backdrop of reducing budget streams and pressures on local services, we are delighted to report that over thirty Youth Offending Teams and their associated local partners have aspired to, and exceeded, the Quality Standard threshold.
We are extremely encouraged by the recent change in focus signalled by Ofsted, holding schools and academies as responsible for social and education inclusion as the drive for high education standards.