News in, the Oasis Charitable Trust has been awarded the contract to turn the Medway Secure Training Centre in Kent into a school for young offenders. It is due to open late in 2020.
The Ministry of Justice has committed £5 million to the project, which will include a refurbishment of the classrooms and residential areas.Services provided to young people will include mentoring and working with young people at risk of violence and abuse.
Rev. Steve Chalke, Oasis founder and leader, said the trust “believes in second chances” and that a “challenging and redemptive environment” would be provided for young offenders...From the very beginning of their stay with us, we will work with them to begin to prepare for their resettlement back into community to make an ongoing positive contribution to society in the future.”
Medway Training Centre was graded ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons last year.
Plans for secure schools have been in the pipeline following scathing criticism of existing young offender services in the 2016 Taylor report. The report warned that "children in existing public sector youth offender institutions received an average of only 15 hours of education a week, with an ambition of 30 hours prevented by “staff shortages and rising levels of violence”. It also said that children in custody are often unable to finish courses or sit exams they have been working towards for years.