The Project

This is an Erasmus+ project which is funded to run from 2018 to 2021. There are 5 European partners involved in this project (see Partners).

In many EU countries, for young people aged 10-17 years who have been incarcerated, re-offending rates are high.

Further to this, as many as 9 out of 10 young offenders leave school early, having dropped out of education prior to being incarcerated.

Young offenders are also likely to be marginalised and socially excluded when back in the community, particularly as they are likely to have less training or educational opportunities. This makes employment opportunities more limited. Thus, re-engaging young offenders whilst in custody presents a unique opportunity for resettlement into the community and education on release.

However, research has shown that educators in prisons tend to have less qualifications than teachers in mainstream schools. There is also a higher staff turnover and specific training, which addresses the multiple needs of young offenders, is limited.

The aim

of the project

This project is in place in 4 EU countries, the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy. The aim of this project is to enhance the capability of educators to re-engage young offenders with education and learning whilst in secure custodial settings. This involves training education staff in secure custodial settings to use ‘authentic inquiry’ as an intervention to enrich their repertoires in learning design.

Authentic Inquiry is an intervention designed to build personally relevant knowledge which is useful in education. The personally relevant topic is identified by the learner, enabling greater opportunity for connection with the learning process. This is done by taking the learners’ interest through their own narratives and stories (personal) and navigating this towards the production of an ‘artefact’ such as a piece of art, poster or other product that has some external educational value (public). In so doing, a connection between the personal and the public is developed.

Education staff in secure custodial settings are the main target group of the project. The long term impact of this training could reach hundreds of young offenders (aged 10-17) through staff training and dissemination.