Keep up-to-date with drugs and crime

The latest research, policy, practice and opinion on our criminal justice and drug & alcohol treatment systems
Education, experience of care and offending
Big data analysis of the links between education, social care and offending.

MoJ/Dept for Education research

The Ministry of Justice and Department for Education have just published an  analysis of the education and children’s social care background of children who had been cautioned or sentenced for an offence. Using the Ministry of Justice and Department for Education data share, they identify three offending groups: approximately 77,300 children who had been cautioned or sentenced for an offence, which is equivalent to 5% of the total pupil cohort; approximately 18,000 children who had been cautioned or sentenced for a serious violence offence (equivalent to 1.1% of the total pupil cohort), and approximately 12,300 children whose offending had been prolific (equivalent to 0.8% of the total pupil cohort).

The report investigates the education and children’s social care background of children who had been cautioned or sentenced for an offence, based on key variables from the Ministry of Justice and Department for Education data share that took place in 2020. The share covers offending data up to the end of 2017 and education and social care data up to the end of academic year 2017/18.
The departments say that the analysis has been produced to provide greater insight into the education and children’s social care background of children who had been cautioned or sentenced for an offence, including attainment outcomes and characteristics. They are keen to emphasise that the statistics are “descriptive” and does not include any tests for statistical significance although further research including more complex analysis is promised. In other words, the researchers caution about making causal links between the characteristics of this cohort and their offending behaviour. 

This is a substantial piece of research (the report is 81 pages long) so I have pulled out what I hope you will agree are some of the more interesting findings.

Key findings

  • Higher attainment was achieved in Maths at Key Stage 2 than English among the offending groups.  42% of the  prolific offending group achieved level 4 in English cmpared to 77% of the overall population.
  • High proportions of the offending groups (23%) were suspended from school. However, most children that were suspended were not in the offending groups.
  • A high proportion (59%) of children who had been permanently excluded were cautioned or sentenced for an offence. However, the majority of those permanently excluded were not in the other (serious or prolific) offending groups.
  • High proportions of the offending groups were recorded as having Special Educational Needs (SEN). These figures are very high – 80% of the overall offending cohort, 87% of those committing a serious offence and 95% of prolific offenders (compared to 45% of the all-pupil population).
  • High proportions of the offending groups were recorded as having Special Educational Needs (SEN). Again, the figures are very high. 32% of those cautioned or sentenced for an offence, and 38% of children cautioned or sentenced for a serious violence offence, were a child in need. 60% of those whose offending had been prolific had been a child in need. This compares with 6% of all children.
  • A large majority of those in trouble were likely to be eligible for free school meals – a good indicator of child poverty. 69% of all children who had been cautioned or sentenced for an offence had ever been eligible for FSM, compared with 76% of children who had been cautioned or sentenced for a serious violence offence and 83% of children whose offending had been prolific. This compares to 34% of the all-pupil cohort.

The serious violence offending group

This section focuses on children who had been cautioned or sentenced for a serious violence offence. A high-level analysis of key education variables in relation to children who had been cautioned or sentenced for a serious violence offence included in this analysis reveals the following:

  • A large proportion (61%, see graphic above) of children who had been cautioned or sentenced for a serious violence offence did not have a previous offence.
  • It was more common for children who were cautioned or sentenced for a serious violence offence to have been permanently excluded (44%) before their first serious violence offence.
  • Children who were cautioned or sentenced for a serious violence offence were more likely (64%) to be first known to children’s social care before their first serious violence offence.
  • Children who were cautioned or sentenced for a serious violence offence were more likely (84%) to have had an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan before their first serious violence offence.

The prolific offending group

The children whose offending had been prolific group includes approximately 6,800 children who were cautioned or sentenced for 4-6 offences, 3,400 children who were cautioned or sentenced for 7-10 offences, 1,100 children who were cautioned or sentenced for 11-14 offences, 800 children who were cautioned or sentenced for 15-25 offences and 100 children who were cautioned or sentenced for 26 or more offences. A high-level analysis of key education variables in relation to the children whose offending had been prolific included in this analysis reveals the following:

  • Those who were cautioned or sentenced for more offences were more likely to have been suspended or permanently excluded than those with fewer offences.
  • Those cautioned or sentenced for more offences were less likely to have been persistently absent unauthorised other (PAUO) than those with fewer offences.
  • Those who were cautioned or sentenced for more offences had lower attainment at KS4 than those with fewer offences.
  • Those cautioned or sentenced for more offences were more likely to have been known to children’s social care than those with fewer offences. (78% of those cautioned or sentenced for 11-14 offences had been a child in need.)
  • This group were also more likely to be eligible for free school meals – including 90% of those cautioned or sentenced for 26 or more offences.

Conclusion

These “descriptive” statistics do a good job in describing some of the factors that we are well aware of are linked to offending, including, in particular poverty and having experiences of care.

 

Thanks to Pete Linforth for kind permission to use the header image in this post which was previously published on Pixabay.

Share This Post

Related posts

On Probation
Systemic resilience in youth justice

Systemic resilience focuses on strengthening the protective factors around the child including within their family, their community, and local services.

5 Responses

  1. Pingback: Polarization…
  2. I believe the values and discipline all starts at home. In Japan, children are taught for their first years of studies about discipline and not about anything. It is important to them, the values of the children so they grow well in values.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Criminal Justice Posts are sponsored by Get the Data

Measuring Social Impact

Our cutting-edge approach to measurement and evaluation is underpinned by robust methods, rigorous analyses, and cost-effective data collection.

Proving Social Impact

Get the Data provides Social Impact Analytics to enable organisations to demonstrate their impact on society.

Subscribe

Get every blog post by email for free

keep informed

One email every day at noon