Search begins for providers to run UK's first Secure School

The government is looking for specialist, not-for-profit education providers to apply to run the UK’s first Secure School. This provides a custodial setting for young people which is focused on education and health services, and is first example of this establishment in the UK.

Based at Medway, it will offer up to 70 places for boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 17 and will predominantly serve the South East, including London – a crucial area of demand. Headteachers will be given complete autonomy to run a tailored curriculum.

The application process has been designed to ensure a wide range of organisations is able to make a strong application, including those with less experience of bidding for government contracts – resulting in a provider with genuine expertise and experience in this field. It will run until February 2019 before a provider is announced in the summer – with the aim of the school opening in Autumn 2020.

Applicants will be asked to demonstrate a child focussed ethos and show their experience of working with children who have undergone significant trauma.

£5 million will be invested to redevelop Medway Secure Training Centre into a Secure School, including extensive refurbishment of the existing classrooms and residential areas as well as improvement to sports provision on the site. This work will benefit from the findings of the review of sport in youth custody and efforts ongoing as part of the Education and Employment Strategy – both published this year.

Secure Schools are just one part of a package of reforms to the youth estate, including developing Enhanced Support Units to provide specialist support to children with the most complex needs. We are also expanding frontline staff capacity in public-sector YOIs by 20% equating to over 120 new recruits.

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