Research Abstract

Dr. Caroline Lanskey

Lecturer in Applied Criminology

Research Abstract

Educational Pathways of Young People in the Youth Justice System

April 2012 – July 2013

A research project supported by the Society for Educational Studies

This case study will generate a detailed picture of education for young people in the youth justice system and young people’s participation and engagement with it. It has two key objectives:

  1. To understand educational experiences of young people in the youth justice system.
  2. To identify practices which support young people’s engagement with learning.

At the core of the research is a group of 31 young people aged from 14 to 18 years, under the supervision of one youth offending team. These young people represent the range of young people supervised and the different types of education/training they receive. Twenty-five of these young people have been tracked for a period of up to eight months during their time with the youth offending team and interviewed twice. A further five with shorter sentences have been interviewed once. Data on their educational careers have also been collected from youth offending service records and reports.

To capture the multiple layers of influence on the young people's educational paths, interviews and discussions have also taken place with 21 professionals and managers working with youth offending and children's services, 27 teachers at educational establishments attended by young people under YOS supervision and seven representatives from policy and inspection bodies. Additionally 16 days of education observations and discussions have been undertaken at eight educational establishments: two young offender institutions, three pupil referral units, two secondary school inclusion units, and one special school.

The data collection for this project is now complete and the analysis and writing up of the research are underway. The final report will be published at the end of the year.