ASCL responds to Children’s Commissioner’s report on gangs

06/02/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders comments on the Children’s Commissioner’s report on gang involvement and youth violence.
 
Commenting on the Children’s Commissioner’s report on gang involvement and youth violence, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

It is intensely frustrating that after years of public concern about the scourge of gang involvement and violence, this report still finds an inadequate response from local agencies and a lack of coordination.

“We suspect that this is not through any shortage of will, but because of devastating cuts in central government funding which have left vital services threadbare.

“Schools are very well aware of how gang involvement blights the lives of young people. They are on the front line of tackling this issue and endeavouring to keep all their pupils safe, and this work has continued throughout the pandemic and will do so in its aftermath.

“There is unquestionably more that can be done around support for young people who are excluded, but it is important to recognise that much alternative provision is already high-quality. Schools consider very carefully any decision to exclude a pupil and take this action only when necessary in the interests of the whole school community.

“There is a lot to be said for the idea of opening school premises at evenings, weekends, and in the school holidays, particularly in communities where youth facilities are scarce. We would be very happy to discuss the practicalities about how this might be funded, managed and supervised
.”