British Justice Secretary Liz Truss is about to announce two new schools are to be opened for teenage offenders to improve education within the system and prevent reoffending.
The two new schools are pilots and may lead to others being opened in the future. They will focus on giving young offenders maths and English skills and will also provide apprenticeships in a bid to get young criminals into work following release.
Expected to cost £15 million, including the cost of staffing, the schools are designed to boost education standards and reduce violence within the prison system which houses young offenders. It is also hoped that young people who begin apprenticeships will continue them when they leave custody, going on to get jobs and contribute to society.
Ms Truss said: “Prisons rightly punish people who break the law, but they should also be a place where offenders are reformed.”
She said it was vital that young people housed in young offender facilities should get education and training to ensure they could go on to lead law-abiding lives once they were able to leave.
The announcement comes as a review is ongoing into the young justic system. Former head teacher and child behavioural expert Charlie Taylor is due to release his findings on Monday.
However, in an interim report, he has already demanded sweeping changes to the system and suggested secure schools should be set up, which could operate in the same way as free schools.
Mr Taylor said it was not right that young people currently only get 17 hours of education a week, when they should be receiving 30 hours. He has now welcomed Ms Truss’ announcement because of the focus which she is placing on providing education and training. He believes that education is the “building block” on which a crime free life can be constructed.