Education for young people in secure settings is undergoing radical change. Further work is being undertaken to ensure that educational opportunities in custody are comparable to those in the community.

Following the Children Act 2004 custodial settings are now drawn into the mainstream of children’s legislation. It is intended that key outcomes for children in the community identified in Every Child Matters should also apply to custodial provision.

According to the DfES SEN and Disability Update, the Youth Justice Board’s audit of the education provided for juvenile offenders in custody revealed high levels of SEN. The majority of trainees in custody have a long history of difficulties in school; experienced disrupted school and home lives; high level of input from a range of professionals with little effect; significant emotional needs; and many have been in care.

Their needs must be identified promptly so that they can access the support they require to achieve, enter employment and avoid reoffending. In response, a number of educational psychologists are being recruited to work in secure settings alongside the recently created roles of SENCO and learning support assistants.