Sheffield SAFE Taskforce

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SAFE Programme Overview

Background on serious violence

The cross-government Beating Crime Plan published in July 2021 announced investment of over £45m in specialist support in both mainstream and Alternative Provision (AP) schools in serious violence hotspots to support young people at risk of involvement in violence to re-engage with education. The majority of this funding is focussed on investment into mainstream schools called the SAFE Taskforces programme.

SAFE Taskforces bring together mainstream schools to commission evidence-based interventions to Support young people with challenging behaviour, enabling them to Attend school regularly so they can Fulfil their potential and prevent costly poor life outcomes by inspiring them to Exceed their expectations.

This programme is designed to be school-led because school leaders, teachers and staff have a distinct expertise and access to make a difference in young people’s lives. We recognise serious youth violence is not an issue that can be solved by schools alone. However, the aim of the Taskforce is to get upstream of serious violence by tackling the education indicators that are also associated with a young person being more at risk of involvement in serious violence.

Schools are already working hard to support young people at risk and often want to do more, but funding and time can be a barrier. A school snapshot survey (Winter 2019) showed that around a third (35%) of schools surveyed were involved in local projects to prevent knife crime. This was more than the proportion that were actively dealing with knife crime as a safeguarding issue within their own schools (29%).

Sheffield SAFE Taskforce’s Vision and Ambition

The Taskforce will invest in and commission interventions for those at risk to:

  • Reduce involvement in serious violence;
  • Improve social emotional regulation and well-being;
  • Improve attendance;
  • Improve behaviour in school and the local area.

Part of the role of the SAFE Taskforce is to get upstream on serious violence by tackling the education indicators associated with it. We know young people who are disengaged from education are often also more likely to be involved in serious violence, for example.

We have identified the following two cohorts to focus on:

  • Pupils already known to be involved in serious violence or who are in close proximity to serious violence due to contextual factors such as peer groups, family, or neighbourhood; and
  • Pupils who are disengaged from education e.g. truancy, suspension or exclusion from school who are more likely to end up on the pathway into serious violence.

This means the cohort is likely to include high proportions of pupils from recognised vulnerable groups (e.g. Children in Need, Looked After Children and those with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities).

We will primarily be focussing on pupils across the local authority in early secondary school (years 7,8 and 9), as this is before serious violence (such as weapon carrying) begins to peak. The strategic needs assessment will be used to identify the exact cohorts with the most need in each area.