#RENYO Team Run Event for Stakeholders of Education in Secure Settings

Dr Adeela Shafi welcoming attendees to the event

In October 2021 Dr Adeela Shafi and her team (Tristan Middleton, Chris Jones) from the School of Education & Humanities welcomed delegates to a conference at the University of Gloucestershire focused on the education of young people in conflict with the law. ‘Sharing Experiences, Joining the Dots, Making a Difference’ brought together students and staff from the University, and stakeholders from the world of education and youth justice, to hear about the valuable projects being undertaken at the University.

A three year project, funded by the EU through Erasmus+, the RENYO (Re-engaging young offenders in Education & Learning) project has worked with secure and community settings in 4 European countries, utilising a method of learning called Authentic Inquiry, which flips traditional learning by putting young people and their interests first. Having reached the end of the project, results have shown how this innovative approach not only began a process of re-engagement with learning of young people in secure institutions, but also supported the professional developent of educators, prompting a positive development in the relational aspect of their work.

Two projects, ActiveGames4Change and Skills4Life are still ongoing. ActiveGames4Change project aims to support young people in conflict with the law in acquiring and using key competencies that facilitate inclusion, education and employability, and Skills4Life aims to provide them with the tools to successfully re-enter communities and re-set their pathways. If you are interested in getting involed in our projects or would like to receive our e-mail updates, please contact Dan Clark.

At the end of the conference, the audience took part in a full and rich discussion on the topc of education in the prison system. Considering the quote “Education should be at the heart of the prison system” (Coates, 2016), they discussed how to make this happen and what the educational priorities should be. The panel and audience members concluded that change is possible and that opportunities for education need to be prioritised within the penal system, in a way which recognises the particular needs of young people who are in conflict with the law.

The conference also provided an opportunity for the audience to hear from guest speakers David Breakspear and Dan Whyte, who both spoke about their experiences of education in the secure settings and their work to improve the educational opportunities for those seeking to improve their futures, through education, in the secure prison network.

Dr Shafi recently also presented on the project at the British Education Research Association conference, and her presentation can be viewed here.