Election 2024

How we’re hitting the ground running in support of the Prime Minister’s vision

This September, Oasis will be launching a new service that will pilot the ambition and aims set out by Sir Keir Starmer

This September, Oasis will be launching a new service that will pilot the ambition and aims set out by Sir Keir Starmer

9 Jul 2024, 0:01

The government's 'beating crime plan' includes funding for schools to re-engage young people at risk of violence.

Last Friday, even as the country absorbed the scale of Labour’s victory, Sir Keir Starmer was clear. He had already turned his attention from celebrating a successful campaign to the hard work of delivering change.

On Saturday, the new Prime Minister spelt it out. One of his top priorities is the establishment of the youth hubs, as set out in Labour’s manifesto. Our prisons are full, and our reoffending rates are damning and expensive. Sir Keir explained he’s determined to reach out and stop young people getting into crime in the first place.

It’s often called the school-to-prison pipeline: detention, suspension, loss of hope, permanent exclusion, exploitation, criminalisation and jail.

Oasis will do everything we can support Labour’s manifesto pledge to ensure that “every community has an open-access hub for children and young people” which will support their “mental health and avoid them being drawn into crime”.

So, this September, after years of preparation, we will open Oasis St Martin’s Village on the site of the former St Martin’s in the Fields High School for Girls, in Tulse Hill, South London.

With a vision to transform the life chances of children who are struggling in or not coping with mainstream education by offering them and their families support and opportunity, Oasis will work in partnership with surrounding local schools, parents and the whole community.

We’ve been talking with Labour for some time about launching a small number of pilot projects ahead of the policy detail and funding arrangements being finalised. St Martin’s is the first.

Why? Because the new government has opened the way for partnership and because Oasis has always been a ‘do-think tank’. So, feeding back our early learning is the best way of supporting the realisation of their ambition.

The whole ecosystem of a child’s life matters

The only way to achieve a reduction in youth violence is to change the question and to double down on inclusion. Oasis St Martin’s Village will give children the opportunity to explore their strengths and skills through creative activities tailored to meet their interests. That way education becomes a pleasure. If the child doesn’t learn the way you teach, start teaching the way they learn.

Our aim is that no child is off-rolled from their mainstream school. Our work will be targeted with children in key stages one to three and their families. We recognise the importance and vulnerability of the transition between primary and secondary education.

We will provide targeted supplementary support for children in local schools whose needs lead to behaviour that disrupts theirs or others’ learning. This will include advice, coaching and self-regulation classes for groups or one-to-one support.

Oasis has invited a number a core partners and a network of local community groups to bring their skills and talents to the life of the village. We will also deliver a range of services ourselves including ‘Encounter’, our therapeutic programme designed to support parents in maintaining boundaries at home. Our theme is ‘compassion and connection before correction’.

We believe that all good learning is at core a therapeutic process. It promotes healing, hope, restoration and development. Oasis St Martin’s Village will be intrinsically therapeutic in its very nature: everything from our edge-of-exclusion supplementary education to the diverse forms of mentoring and care.

This work will be focused outside of school hours, during evenings, weekends and holidays.However, we will also offer schools the opportunity for children and students to take time out with us during weekdays.

Though often unacknowledged, the school attendance crisis is a systemic problem; it’s not something that can be solved in isolation. The whole ecosystem of a child’s life matters.

Working with families, local charities, grassroots movements and faith groups as well as statutory services, we can provide a more collaborative approach to community development. The power of the voluntary sector and local people will add huge value.

As our name suggests, our work at Oasis St Martin’s will be based around the principle that it takes a village to raise a child.  For too long, while we’ve all learned the mantra, we’ve left the village out.

As the Prime Minister said, we will “hit the ground running”. There is no other option. The stakes couldn’t be higher for the lives and wellbeing of our children.

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One comment

  1. Rubina Darr

    Great that Oasis is supporting Labour in its drive to tackle inequity for our children.
    However there must be scope for others to have the opportunity to contribute with new innovative strategies.
    There are many other organisations that can do what Oasis want to do so let’s do this together.