The SAFE Taskforces were set up by the Department for Education (DfE) to tackle serious youth violence in local authority areas where youth violence is most problematic. The aim is to provide schools with the expertise and resources they need to reduce the number of children becoming involved in violent incidents. This is a three year initiative that will be running until March 2025.
In 2022-23, the Southwark SAFE Taskforce worked with four local organisations to run evidence-based mentoring and extra-curricular interventions in 13 secondary schools across the borough.
Initially, Southwark SAFE Taskforce partnered with ImpactEd Evaluation to increase their understanding of factors shaping the experiences of young people at risk of serious youth violence in Southwark. Following this piece of research, the Taskforce continued working with ImpactEd Evaluation to co-design and implement a three year impact evaluation that measures key outcomes, such as pupil attendance, exclusions and behaviour.
The evaluation suggested that the interventions positively impacted behaviour, as pupils who had high attendance at intervention sessions received significantly less negative behaviour points. Interviews with pupils showed that they highly valued the relationships they built with the delivery staff, and thought they had become better at managing their behaviour and emotions as a result of the interventions.
One of the key learnings for the Taskforce was that group sessions should address pupil experiences of negative perceptions associated with place, race, gender, and age, as pupils - and especially male pupils - reported being aware of the risk of being stereotyped. The evaluation recommended that the Taskforce also considered how to meet the needs of pupils with low attendance who were found to be unlikely to attend an intervention at school.
Second year of delivery
Going into the second year of delivery (2023-34), the Southwark SAFE Taskforce is now better equipped to deliver interventions that target pupils at risk of serious youth violence, and to use the right tools to assess how to best address their needs. The Taskforce will roll out a CBT intervention designed to support pupils with mental health needs as pupils’ high anxiety was identified as a key factor associated with risk of being associated with youth violence. The evaluation will continue to collect attendance, exclusions and behaviour data through the School Impact Platform, alongside a new survey focused specifically on emotional and behavioural difficulties, and attitudes towards school.
Hibo Adan, SAFE - Schools & Project Coordinator Southwark
“I have had a positive experience working with ImpactEd on this project. Clear and concise Instructions & support has always been provided, with the Partnership Manager and Partnership Support Coordinator always being on hand to help”
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