North Star Academy Trust Gang and Knife Crime Awareness Day

As a Multi Academy Trust that specialises in Social Emotional and Mental Health Needs (SEMH), we have been alarmed in the recent spike in serious youth violence and gang crime that has struck Bristol and BANES.

As a Trust our leaders have long been interested in understanding the link between SEND, Serious Youth Violence and exploitation.

Some research we have been shocked to read is that 88 % of young men and 74 % of young women in custody were excluded from schools at some point. This echo’s our experience as a SEND Academy trust and we began to look into not only the impact on the individual, family, and community but also the effects on a crumbling societal framework. A typical family in crisis receiving support from different agencies over several different departments can cost in the region of £250,000 per year (Hilary Cottam, TED talk 2015). Clearly this evidences the need to disrupt the route from disaffection in education to criminal exploitation.

This route has been coined the School To Prison Pipeline (STOPP).

As a Trust we understand that a strong disruption tactic for STOPP is a safe inclusive environment. Once this is achieved we can help educate our young people. On the 17th June this year we ran a ‘Project STOPP day’. We took children from across our Trust to North Star 180° in Bath and invited specialists in to support us to deliver this important message. Speakers included St Giles Trust and the mother of one young person who tragically lost their life, Alison Cope. Both used their experience and expertise to alert the young people we work with to the dangers of social media, exploitation and crime as well as police activity and policy which can have a devastating effect on the lives of children, young people, families and communities.  

We firmly believe that the disproportionate representation of young people with SEMH needs in the youth criminal justice system needs to change. We believe that education is the start.

St Giles Trust