The government has confirmed the 21 areas set to receive funding under a scheme to prevent vulnerable pupils in alternative provision “entering a life of crime”.
Alternative provision specialist taskforces will be launched across England in “serious violence hotspots”, receiving £15 million between them in Treasury funding.
The taskforces will include mental health professionals, family workers and speech and language therapists, who will offer “intensive support” directly to pupils seen as at risk of being drawn into crime.
The aim is to help them stay engaged in education, and then move into further education, employment or training.
“Keeping young people engaged in their learning can be absolutely vital in preventing them from being drawn into serious violence or exploited by gangs – especially in light of increased risks from the pandemic,” said children and families minister Vicky Ford.
The initiative forms part of the government’s wider “beating crime plan” unveiled in July. Experts warned at the time funding was “nowhere near” enough to tackle the issues, highlighting a decade of service cutbacks and calling for more wide-ranging reforms.
A separate £30 million scheme of taskforces for mainstream schools is also planned, but the 10 areas set for cash are yet to be confirmed.
Funding for the AP taskforces was based on analysis of areas where there is data “suggesting higher incidences of youth violence”. Indicators include levels of serious violence offences and hospital admissions for assault with sharp objects.
The AP taskforce areas are: