Avon Tyrrell Youth Achievement Foundation has published a report on a small-scale pilot instigated in September 2011. Staff tracked the circumstances and progression of five young offenders enrolled at the Foundation at that time.
David King, UK Youth’s Programme Development Manager comments: “We researched the backgrounds of five learners and closely monitored their progress and all interventions, introducing new strategies, based on the information we were collecting. The report includes a detailed case study for each young person.”
David continues: “Although we recognise that this is a very small-scale pilot, our findings clearly demonstrate that the approach used at UK Youth’s Youth Achievement Foundations is effective for a number of young offenders.”
Key areas of impact shown are:
- Greatly improved attendance rates in education;
- Zero charges for offending in the 18 months following enrolment at the Foundation;
- Vast improvements in personal and family relationships;
- Significant improvements in behaviour;
- Good levels of engagement in learning;
- Notable improvements in levels of alcohol and substance misuse;
- 80% in employment or education 18 months after start at the Foundation, compared with 20% prior to attending.
Keys to success
“There is no simple or single reason for this success,” David adds. “The Foundation’s approach is a holistic one, with experiential learning as the mainstay of the learning process. We work in small groups – a maximum of four learners to each learning mentor – and pupils develop their own individualised learning programmes, based on their interests and skills.
“Regular liaison with parents and carers is central to the way the Foundation works. This includes, for example, weekly telephone calls to say positive things about their child’s progress during the week.
“The Foundation aims to provide a positive learning environment, with celebration of success and the recognition of achievement. We also work hard to offer appropriate vocational learning opportunities to suit the abilities and interests of learners – music production or carpentry, for example.
“While there’s no one reason for our achievements, what I do know is that this progress would not be possible without the endless patience of our learning mentors! They provide positive adult role models for all the young people at the Foundation – they are recruited for their passion and ability to communicate with disengaged young people, as well as for their practical skills. The relationships they build with our learners are the bedrock of our success.”