Education charity to run country’s first secure school as an alternative to youth jails

The UK’s first Secure School will open late next year, operated by a global education charity.

Oasis Charitable Trust, which runs 52 academies across England, will manage the first institution of its kind, on the site of Medway Secure Training Centre (pictured) in Kent.

Plans to create the new establishments as an alternative to youth jails were first announced in 2016 after a review called for fundamental change to the youth custody system.

The report found children in public sector young offender institutions (YOIs) were only receiving 15 hours of education every week on average, compared with an expected level of 30 hours.

The facilities allow for any boy or girl aged 12 to 17 who is remanded or sentenced into youth detention accommodation to be placed into secure schools.

Justice Minister Edward Argar, said: “Secure Schools are critical to our vision for youth custody – placing education, healthcare and purposeful activity at the heart of rehabilitation.

“I have been impressed by Oasis’s dedication to improving the lives of young people and its track record across education, health and youth work.

“We will now work closely with them on detailed proposals to ensure high standards from day one.”

Three quarters of Oasis’ academies operate in the UK’s most deprived areas and most were rated by Ofsted as failing at the time they were taken over.

The £5 million investment will include extensive refurbishment of classrooms and residential areas to provide the best possible environment for Oasis to deliver services like their existing mentoring and work with young people at risk of violence and abuse.

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