The facts

Many young people are being let down by the mainstream education system, which can often fail to meet their specific needs. School exclusions are on the rise, with 7,720 young people being permanently excluded in 2016/17. Children with special educational needs account for more than 47% of those exclusions. The knock-on effect is damaging – more than half of people with no qualifications are unemployed, despite wanting to work.

While the number of young people who come into contact with the criminal justice system has decreased in recent years, the needs of those in custody have become more serious and more complex. 11% of young people have attempted suicide in prison and 68% of young people released from custody reoffend within a year. Fewer than 1% of all children in England are in care but looked after children make up 33% of boys and 61% of girls in custody.

Our approach

We understand that each young person is different and has specific needs, strengths and goals. Our personalised Study Programmes and vocational courses provide young people and adults with the skills they need to move in to further education, training or employment in the area that is right for them. We partner with employers to ensure our students are enthusiastic, work-ready and reliable. Many of the young people who come to us have had problems at school, or can’t or don’t want to attend their local college; we get them on the path to success.

In addition, we deliver specialist education in two Secure Forensic Mental Health Units – Bluebird House and The Wells unit for the NHS – and in Medway Secure Training Centre on behalf of the Ministry of Justice. We re-engage people aged 12–18 who have committed offences and/or have multiple and complex mental health needs. Under these challenging circumstances, our staff aim to ensure that students leave with key skills, qualifications and an education plan for their next destination. We also provide a wide range of housing and support services for young people, including care leavers, to support local authorities in their statutory responsibilities and beyond.

Informed by Nacro’s Beyond Youth Custody partnership, which was designed to challenge, advance and promote better thinking in policy and practice for the effective resettlement of young people leaving custody, we know that resettlement support and work with young people needs to be trauma-informed, gender-specific and sensitive to ethnicity, faith and culture.

Our work with young people

We have a network of 18 Education and Skills Centres across the country, plus a further education college. We also deliver specialist education and skills in two Secure Mental Health Units and a Secure Training Centre. We provide tailored programmes – including technical, vocational and English and maths qualifications – to young people aged 14-19. We partner with local employers to give young people the hands-on experience and skills they need to succeed in life. Despite the challenges that our students face – such as dysfunctional family life, behavioural problems, mental health issues and substance misuse – we support them to ensure that they aren’t permanently disadvantaged in future.

Tom’s story

Tom has been absent from school since the age of 13 and demonstrates complex social, emotional and behavioural needs. To read about the progress he has made with Nacro’s education team in Medway Secure Training Centre, click here.

Our young people’s services

Nacro Barrow Centre offers Study Programmes and work placements for young people with learning disabilities.
Nacro Bolton Centre offers Study Programmes and work placements for young people with learning disabilities.
Nacro Boston Centre offers Study Programmes and work placements for young people with learning disabilities.
Nacro Carlisle Centre offers Study Programmes and work placements for young people with learning disabilities.
Nacro Chatham Centre offers Study Programmes and work placements for young people with learning disabilities.
Nacro Connecting Choices helps people to overcome barriers and move towards or into sustainable volunteering, education, training or employment.
Nacro Conwy Resettlement Service provides housing-related support to young people who require support to develop independent living skills.
Nacro Denbighshire Flexible Supported Housing Service provides temporary supported housing to vulnerable young people aged 16-25.
Nacro Dover Centre offers Study Programmes and work placements for young people with learning disabilities.
Nacro Essex Young People’s Partnership accommodates and supports young people who may not have had the best start in life to move forward and achieve their aspirations.
Nacro Ipswich Centre offers Study Programmes and work placements for young people with learning disabilities.
Nacro Leeds Centre offers Study Programmes and work placements for young people with learning disabilities.
Nacro Lincolnshire Support Partnership provides housing and support for young people aged 16 and 17, care leavers and young people with complex needs
Nacro Longton Centre offers Study Programmes and work placements for young people with learning disabilities.
Nacro Meanwood Training Centre provides skills and qualifications to young people who are not in education or work and are at risk of becoming involved in antisocial behaviour.
Nacro Middlesbrough Centre offers Study Programmes and work placements for young people with learning disabilities.
Nacro Newcastle Alternative Educations Project helps young people aged 14-18 who have disengaged with school to return to learning or move on to work.
Nacro Newcastle Centre offers Study Programmes and work placements for young people with learning disabilities.
Nacro Peterborough Centre offers Study Programmes and work placements for young people with learning disabilities.
Nacro Sandwell Centre offers Study Programmes and work placements for young people with learning disabilities.
Nacro Sheffield Centre offers Study Programmes and work placements for young people with learning disabilities.
Nacro Spalding Centre offers Study Programmes and work placements for young people with learning disabilities.
Nacro Step Forward Young People Lincoln offers housing for young people aged 17-25 with low level support needs.
Nacro Symud Ymlaen provides supported housing for young people who are homeless and/or have a history of offending.
Nacro The Elms Supported Housing is a 24-hour supported housing project which provides accommodation and support to young people.
Nacro Walsall Centre offers Study Programmes and work placements for young people with learning disabilities.
Nacro Wandsworth High Support provides temporary accommodation to care leavers with high support needs.
Nacro Wisbech Centre offers Study Programmes and work placements for young people with learning disabilities.