Schools in ten youth violence “hotspots” will lead new taskforces backed by £30 million in funding aimed at keeping pupils in school and preventing crime.
The Department for Education has named the ten areas that will get new “SAFE” (Support, Attend, Fulfil, Exceed) taskforces run by mainstream schools.
Ministers say these will bring headteachers together to “support vulnerable young people and avoid them becoming involved in county lines and criminal activity”.
SAFE taskforces will be set up in Birmingham, Newham, Manchester, Lambeth, Leeds, Southwark, Sheffield, Bradford, Liverpool and Haringey
They will be led by local schools, which have not been named. The DfE said it would be up to each taskforce to decide how the money will be allocated.
The government has also today named 22 alternative provision schools that will benefit from AP specialist taskforces under a scheme backed by £15 million.
Ministers announced in September that it would create the two initiatives, which are aimed at keeping young people in school to prevent them from turning to crime and helping them move on to further education, employment or training.
Announcement follows youth service cuts
The announcement comes after analysis by the YMCA charity earlier this year found that spending on youth services by councils had been cut by 71 per cent in real terms – or around £1 billion – since 2010-11.
In 2019, a cross-party group of MPs and peers warned that youth service cuts were linked to violent crime, after finding that the areas suffering the largest cuts to youth spending had seen bigger increases in knife crime.
And this summer, the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused the government of “short-sightedness” over the cuts, which have left young people “without the advice, guidance and support that youth services once provided”.
“Youth work is about career guidance, mental health support and community cohesion, but it is also one of the most effective ways of tackling the root causes of crime,” he said.
The DfE had already announced the areas that would benefit from the AP specialist taskforces. They have now named 19 of the 22 AP schools to benefit from the scheme (listed below).
Children’s minister Will Quince said keeping young people engaged with their education “has never been more important”.
“These taskforces are helping school leaders and vital support services work together to support some of the most vulnerable young people across the country, helping to keep them on the right track and stop them missing lessons.”
The schools benefiting from an AP taskforce
Bradford AP Academy Centre, Bradford
Haringey Learning Partnership, Haringey
Manchester Secondary PRU, Manchester
Orchardside School, Enfield
Saffron Valley Collegiate, Croydon
Sandwell Community School, Sandwell
Snowdon Village (Bristol Future’s Academy), Bristol
Southwark Inclusive Learning Service (SILS), Southwark
Stephen Longfellow Academy, Leeds
Tunmarsh School, Newham
Unity Academy, Nottingham
St Wilfrid’s Academy, Doncaster
Park Campus Academy, Lambeth
Brent River College, Brent
City of Birmingham School, Birmingham
Ealing Alternative Provision (EAP), Ealing
Everton Free School, Liverpool
Leicester Partnership School, Leicester
London East AP, Tower Hamlets