Returning back from the half term break gave the group much to talk about as we shared the highlights and difficulties they faced during their week off. Beyond the school gates students spoke of witnessing serious youth violence while others had family members arrested, bringing todays session on the ‘Danger of gangs and serious youth violence’ close to home.
Recapping the formation of gangs we took a brief historical journey as we looked at the Teddy Boys, the Mods, the Rockers, the Skinheads and the Punks, quashing the myth and breaking the lie that gangs are just black boys. Polling the group, each student recognised that gangs operated on their doorstep and that they knew someone who belonged to a gang. In contrast, only two students recognised they knew someone who attained 5 A*s – C at GCSE. The programme continues to raise aspirations in the face of urban environments that only seek to do the opposite.
With the programme drawing to an end, the young people were presented with certificates and took time to evaluate its impact, with some even giving speeches to the group! Students noted that the programme had helped them to make “better decisions”, “saving me from getting into trouble”, “shown me a better perspective… to take my education seriously” and “helped me have fewer detentions”, with one student noting that there has been an incredible “20 point behaviour deficit” already!
Each young person will be now be supported through 1:1 mentoring, drawing up a final report of recommendations to the school and wider support network to ensure the incredible progress we have seen remains sustainable.