Posted on: 21 May 2024

  • The UK’s first Secure School set to open in the coming weeks
  • Oasis Restore Secure School will put education and healthcare at the heart, with a specialised workforce including staff from CNWL’s Health and Justice services

Over the last decade we have seen an 82 percent drop in the number of children and young people in custody. However, the few hundred left have complex needs, such as serious mental health problems and poor education, and have often committed serious offences.

Oasis Restore Secure School, which is set to open in the coming weeks, is a new approach to youth justice, putting education and healthcare at its heart.

The design is based on international research that shows smaller settings, high-quality education and healthcare, plus a specialised workforce of teachers and youth workers are key to successfully turning the lives of young people in custody around.

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Alex Chalk, said:

“This multi-million-pound investment marks a major step change in our approach to youth detention. By prioritising intensive education, this Secure School will put the rehabilitation of young offenders front and centre, helping to break the cycle of crime.” 

Mark Maguire (Divisional Managing Director) and Melissa Beaumont (Clinical Lead, Children and Young People Service line) visited the school in Rochester, Kent on Thursday 16 May to tour the facilities and classrooms which include barbering, catering and a music studio.

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Picture shows (left to right): Mark Maguire and Melissa Beaumont.

They were joined by Justice Minister Edward Argar, as well as colleagues from Oasis, the Ministry of Justice and the Youth Custody Service, who will be working in partnership at the school.

Multidisciplinary staff from our Health and Justice service will provide health and wellbeing services at Oasis Restore, and since early March they have been helping to facilitate the induction and training programme.

Melissa Beaumont, Clinical Lead - Children and Young People Service Line at Oasis Restore, said:

“Oasis Restore represents a new model for healthcare delivery in secure settings. It brings the expertise of our partners and third sector organisations together to work as an integrated part of the onsite healthcare team. By adopting this approach, we are able to provide holistic support that can address the complex needs of young people and their families.”

The Secure School will be home to up to 49 children at any one time – of all genders - and every young person will be enrolled in formal education or training and encouraged into further study or secure employment on release.

The school’s core focus on getting troubled young people into jobs or further education is part of the Government’s plan to drive down reoffending.

Rev Steve Chalke MBE, Founder of Oasis, said:

“Oasis Restore represents a revolution in youth justice – a revolution that’s built on both science and experience.    

“The core principle behind the Secure School and the work of our staff team is an unshakeable commitment to the belief that the only way to create positive change for the young people we serve, as well as to make our streets and communities safer, is to ensure that restoration sits at the very heart of the youth custodial system. That is our privilege and our task.”

Find out more about Oasis Restore on their website: