An independent report in to the causes of last summers riots has blamed poor education and a lack of opportunities for the unrest.
The Riots, Communities and Victims Panel found that with about a fifth of school leavers with the literacy skills of an 11-year-old or younger, many felt they were left with no stake in society and no reason to stay out of trouble.
The report said that 'every child should be able to read and write to an age-appropriate standard' and recommended that schools should be fined if children are leaving without that standard.
The funds raises would then be used to improve the literacy standards of those lacking them.
The main findings of the study were that:
- Families aren’t getting the support they need
- Communities told the Panel that young people need to build character to help them realise their potential and to prevent them making poor decisions, like rioting.
- Children are leaving school unable to read and write
- Communities and young people told the Panel that having a job is key to people feeling that they have a stake in society.
Speaking to communities affected by the riots across the UK the report found worries over:
Some of the key recommendations from the Panel’s final report include:
- Government and local public services should develop a strategy incorporating the principles of the Troubled Families Programme to help 500,000 ‘forgotten families’ turn their lives around.
- Schools should assume responsibility for helping children build character.
- Where schools fail to teach children to read and write they should pay a financial penalty, used to help the pupil ‘catch up’.
- Government and local public services should fund together a ‘Youth Job Promise’ scheme to get young people a job, when they have been unemployed for a year.
Darra Singh Chair of the Riots Communities and Victims Panel said:
Teaching Unions have defended their record and say that school leavers can find a job with the reading level of an 11-year-old: