Secure Schools: What are they and how do they differ from 'regular' schools?

New secure school to get young offenders away from crime set to open Credit: ITV News Meridian

The first ever secure school for young offenders will soon open in Rochester, Kent.

It's called Oasis Restore and aims to give girls and boys, aged between 12 to 18, intensive education and training.

It's a much smaller setting than a young offenders institution (YOI) or prison and will provide specialised education and training.

It's part of measures to reduce re-offending by children.

The Secure School will be home to up to 49 children at any one time – both boys and girls Credit: ITV News Meridian

How will it work?

The school will be run by education provider Oasis Restore rather than the Prison Service, and inside it will be laid out like a school inside the prison walls.

It will be home to up to 49 children at any one time – both boys and girls.

Staff will be trained to offer a broad curriculum and offer one-to-one learning support, and they will set challenging targets in core academic subjects such as English and mathematics.

Ofsted inspectors will hold the establishment to the same standards as all other schools nationwide – ensuring the education on offer is of the best possible standard.

The focus will be on education and rehabilitation rather than punishment Credit: ITV News Meridian

Why do we need Secure Schools?

Despite an 82% drop in the number of young offenders in youth custody since 2010, the few hundred children left have complex needs.

They have often committed serious offences and have serious mental health problems and poor education.

The aim of Oasis Restore Secure School is to put education and healthcare at the heart of steering young offenders away from gangs and knife crime.

The design is based on international research which shows that smaller settings, high-quality education and healthcare, plus a specialised workforce of teachers and youth workers are the key to successfully turning the lives of young people in custody around.

Secure schools will be inspected by Ofsted, supported by the Care Quality Commission Credit: ITV News Meridian

How do they differ from 'regular' schools?

Placement decisions will be made internally by the Youth Custody Service (YCS).

Children and parents will not be able to apply for placement in a secure school rather than a YOI.

Young people will be supervised by highly trained staff and the secure site has the same rigorous security procedures as other custodial settings for children.

The rooms in the school are fitted with the latest secure in-room technology which will allow children to continue homework and projects in their rooms and contact their families to maintain crucial ties that are proven to cut reoffending.

The rooms in the school are fitted with the latest secure in-room technology Credit: ITV News Meridian

Is the secure school only for children from Kent?

No, the secure school is not only for children from Kent.

Children sentenced to custody could be placed there from anywhere in the country.

Closeness to home is considered alongside a number of other factors in determining where a child is placed.

The YCS placements team will decide where to place each child sentenced or remanded to custody, according to the child’s individual needs and circumstances.

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