One of the areas where Shaw Trust works supporting young people, is at Feltham Young Offenders Institution (YOI). We provide the boys’ education, and like at any school or college, we employ teachers, prepare lessons and support the boys to take exams including GCSEs, vocational and A level equivalent qualifications. But we do it within the prison.
Last week, Thursday 24 March, the prison received a visit from Victoria Atkins, Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice and Minister for Afghan Resettlement. Ms Atkins leads the Ministry of Justice’s work on prison operations and policy, youth justice, tackling violence against women and girls, and rape and serious sexual offences.
Ms Atkins was joined by Helga Swidenbank, Executive Director Youth Custody Service. Both the Minister and Helga commented positively on the significant improvements in safety, behaviour, engagement, and outcomes for learners at Feltham YOI since early 2020. These improvements have taken place despite the Covid-19 pandemic and were recognised in a recent visit by Ofsted. Ofsted inspects the whole of the YOI activity, including the prison management and provision, and not just the education we provide. Feltham YOI has now come out of ‘Urgent Notification’.
Speaking about the visit, and the improvement over the last two years, Patrick Allen, our Head of Education at Feltham YOI said: “Meeting the Minister and Helga and receiving their feedback, where they recognised the hard work done by the Shaw Trust team at Feltham YOI was extremely satisfying. The whole team has come together in building effective partnerships with our HMPPS colleagues, thus enabling the successful implementation of a revised curriculum, a trauma informed approach to behaviour management and a shared learner centred vision of high expectations, which formed the foundations for the significant improvements.”
Patrick leads a team of 36 colleagues who supported 234 boys last year to gain 1,500 qualifications.