Non-confidential facts and advice to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (DMPC)
1. Introduction and background
1.1 The Mayors Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy includes an action to ‘challenge schools in London to tackle VAWG through a whole school approach focused on prevention, education and safeguarding.’
1.2 Prevention is a key MOPAC priority across a range of thematic and corporate strategies including the Police and Crime Plan, the Mayoral Strategy on Violence Against Women and Girls 2013-2017 and the London Crime Reduction Board’s Strategic Ambitions for London: Gangs and Serious Youth Violence. As such, the development and delivery of a whole schools approach would have a positive impact and support a number of cross cutting MOPAC outcomes. A whole school approach involves addressing the needs of pupils, staff and the wider community, not only within the curriculum, but across the whole-school and learning environment. It means working in a coordinated way and in different spaces across a school - including within the curriculum, extra-curricular activities, teacher training and community engagement.
1.3 We know that VAWG is preventable if the root causes including the attitudes and beliefs that condone or tolerate it are tackled. To ensure that harmful behaviour and attitudes are addressed at an early age, it is critical that there is a significant improvement in the consistency and quality of education related to VAWG within schools. The critical role of schools and other educational establishments in early intervention and prevention was consistently highlighted in the gang’s consultation undertaken in January – March 2014. The need to provide specific support at the transition point from primary to secondary schools was particularly highlighted. Therefore, the gang strategic ambitions also included an ambition to ensure that prevention programmes were made available in all London schools.
1.4 There are over 2.3 million young people in London, representing over 30% of the population in London. The one place that most young people have in common is school. Schools and educational establishments (such as pupil referral units and alternative education providers) therefore provide the greatest opportunity to engage with and make a difference to the safety and wellbeing of young people. Schools also through their statutory duty of care offer a key opportunity for the identification and support of victims of gangs or VAWG issues in schools.
1.5 The co-design of a VAWG whole schools model in partnership with the London Borough of Croydon, the Voluntary and Community Sector, schools, parents and young people will provide an excellent starting point to take forward the implementation of these MOPAC commitments. The model will also be used to design a specification for a competitive commissioning process in order to identify a delivery organisation to implement it in the identified Croydon schools.
Issues for consideration
2.1 The MOPAC Evidence and Insight (E&I) Team produced a data product to determine which London borough to work collaboratively with in the design of a whole schools approach. This data product included a huge range of indicators by London borough, including, Domestic Homicides; Anti-Social Behaviour; Gang Flagged Crime; Unauthorised absence from school and Looked After Children. Additionally, deprivation and language measures were also explored but the final analysis excluded these measures in order not to skew the findings of analysis to poorer communities.
Five London boroughs ranked highly for the aggregated indicators of 1) crime; 2) schools/children and 3) safeguarding. Safeguarding relates to the action taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. We know that safeguarding can reduce the potential for abuse and prevent further abuse from reoccurring. Consequently, prevention is the foundation for safeguarding services.
2.2 Croydon was in the top five London boroughs for safeguarding and has been selected by MOPAC as a pilot borough to support the co-design of a whole schools programme for the following reasons:
- The co-design of a whole schools prevention programme will build on existing safeguarding and prevention work being undertaken in the borough - Considerable partnership work has been undertaken in the borough by a Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisation specialising in peer on peer abuse. This work, which has been carried out with Croydon’s Education Team and the Fair Access Panel, has been focused on ensuring that effective partnership data and intelligence was being collated on peer on peer abuse in order to identify trends in schools and respond accordingly.
Working in partnership with Croydon colleagues in the design of a whole schools programme would build on and support the work undertaken by the VCS organization. The co-design of a whole schools programme would also respond to the support requirements identified by the Croydon Education Team, its Fair Access Panel and the VCS organisation.
- Croydon colleagues are mindful of the safeguarding and prevention concerns in Croydon schools. Feedback from the specialised VCS organisation highlighted that Croydon colleagues have not only been willing to recognise the complexity of issues and concerns occurring in local schools but have been equally proactive in exploring how these issues and concerns can be tackled.
- Croydon colleagues are supportive of working in partnership with MOPAC and will be proactive in supporting the co-design of the whole schools approach.
From the 1 April 2016 – September 2016, MOPAC will use the £60,000 funding to
- Commission specialist advice and guidance to lead a collaborative co-designed programme with both local voluntary and statutory partners;
- Agree the aims and objectives of the programme and the roles of different partners in both the delivery and oversight of the subsequent pilot;
- Develop a delivery model for the whole schools approach;
- Agree an evaluation framework setting out clearly what success looks like; and finally,
- Develop a specification for the delivery of the whole schools approach.
Working in collaboration with Croydon colleagues, schools, parents and young people to design a whole schools programme will ensure a credible robust pilot. It is anticipated that the model will be used to inform the development of a specification for a competitive commissioning process, which will take place between October – December 2016. Delivery in identified Croydon schools will take place from January 2017 – December 2018.
It is also anticipated that an independent evaluation will be funded by MOPAC, as there is a paucity of information on what works in terms of prevention in schools. The MOPAC E&I team will oversee the independent evaluation. The evaluation will enable MOPAC to evidence the impact of the whole schools programme and the research outcomes will be used to inform and support the development of future MOPAC prevention priorities.
Whilst the development of a whole schools approach and the subsequent delivery of the programme will be in partnership with the London Borough of Croydon, it is anticipated that the work begun with Croydon will have a pan London benefit. As stated above, the delivery of the programme will be supported by an evaluation.
The evaluation team will expected to ensure that the whole schools programme continues to develop and adapt, using learning from the schools to build on and improve the programme in its early stages. The evaluating team will be also required to produce a number of products: an impact evaluation outlining how the whole schools programme has delivered on the agreed outcomes and outputs; a process evaluation, outlining how the programme was established in the schools, with a particular focus on the role of partnerships; and finally, a toolkit that can be used by other London schools who wish to replicate the learning from the pilot. The toolkit will include information on how interventions should be delivered specific to each age group; a focus on working with the key transition points of years 6 to year 7 and year 11 to further or higher education; and finally how delivering a whole schools approach can deliver on key Ofsted requirements. The future commissioned provider will be responsible for designing the toolkit. Consideration on how the toolkit could be used to have a pan London benefit will also be a key aspect of the co-design of the model.
The collaboration will be a unique partnership of the statutory sector (Croydon colleagues), London government (MOPAC) and the voluntary and community sector (VAWG Prevention working group). The VAWG Prevention working group was specifically set up to develop the prevention whole schools approach. It includes representatives from the former Gangs Prevention working group, VCS VAWG experts, the GLA Education and Youth Team and borough Local Authority colleagues. Oversight will be provided by the VAWG Prevention working group, which will be reporting to the VAWG Board. As prevention is key priority across a range of MOPAC portfolio areas, updates will also be provided to the MOPAC Gangs Panel.
3. Financial Comments
3.1 The total value of £60,000 for the design of a whole schools programme will be met from within the existing MOPAC budget. The budget will be used to resource the specialist skills required to inform and lead on the co-designed model and specification.
3.2 A whole schools prevention programme will introduce a systems change in the target schools. It will ensure that prevention is a common thread in schools policies, in the school curriculum and in staff training. This will require significant partnership working and ongoing liaison with Croydon colleagues, schools, parents and young people, ensuring that they remain engaged, committed and updated on the development of the model.
4. Legal Comments
4.1 Under section, 9 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 MOPAC may make a Crime and Disorder Reduction Grant to any person if they are of the opinion that it will secure, or contribute to securing crime and disorder reduction within the metropolitan police district.
5. Equality Comments
5.1 The government defines safeguarding in the following manner: “The process of protecting children, young adults and vulnerable adults from abuse or neglect, preventing impairment of their health and development, and ensuring they are living in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care that enables them to have the optimum life chances.” Therefore safeguarding is responding to, and trying to prevent, anything that puts a person’s physical, mental, emotional or social wellbeing at risk. Consequently, there is a clear relationship between equality and diversity and safeguarding as they share many interrelated components including a focus on providing a safe learning environment.
5.2 The VAWG whole schools pilot will be tailored to the needs of a specific secondary school and its feeder primary schools. The pilot will address the range of prevention concerns providing a coherent response to prevention as opposed to an issue based response. Often the prevention work in schools is issue based and the connectivity between the various concerns are not considered or taken into account. Addressing the totality of prevention in the school and designing a bespoke response will result in a programme that will meet the needs of all the target pupils regardless of their age, gender, race, disability or sexuality.