Forensic Psychiatry
Poor Educational Outcomes are linked to Youth Offending
Mar 31, 2005 - 9:05:38 PM

Youngsters who commit crime are more likely to have problems at school and to have missed weeks of teaching because they were excluded.

She examined all of the 73 secondary school age youngsters who were sentenced to work with Peterborough's Youth Offending Service on one day at the beginning of the 2003/2004 school year.

The researcher discovered that three quarters of the youngsters had been excluded from school and that this exclusion was not due to being in custody. The average length of exclusion was 32 days and nearly one in five (19%) had a permanent exclusion.

A number of concerns had also been highlighted in the educational and youth offending records of the young people with the highest number of days out of education due to exclusions. These were reported experiences of bullying, mental health concerns, having educational needs, having a family history of crime, domestic violence in the family, poor teacher relationships and educational underachievement.

Seven young people were without an allocated school place at the time of the study. The research showed that these youngsters were prolific offenders. Between them they were convicted of a total of 162 separate offences, which is an average of 23 each.

Zoƫ Ashmore said: "Keeping young people engaged in education is an essential building block for their future. Young people not attending school can become socially excluded and their lack of education means they can struggle in later life, meaning their adolescent educational difficulties can mar them long afterwards. They also miss out on the whole range of social and life skills, both taught formally and informally, through our education system."

The researcher admitted overcoming these difficulties is a major challenge for Youth Offending Teams who want to integrate young offenders into their community to reduce offending.

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