YOUNG PEOPLE IN Bradford who are most at risk of serious violence or gang exploitation will benefit from targeted support to keep them engaged in education and attending lessons.

The new Government initiative, which was announced in September is a part of a rollout of 10 ‘SAFE’ (Support, Attend, Fulfil, Exceed) taskforces in ‘hotspot’ areas, where incidents of serious youth violence are highest.

The programme which has been backed by 30 million pounds will be led by local schools, bringing headteachers together to support vulnerable young people, and avoid them becoming involved in county lines and criminal activity.

Children and Families Minister Will Quince, said: “Keeping young people engaged with their education has never been more important.

“These taskforces are helping school leaders and vital support services work together to support some of the most vulnerable young people across the country, including in Bradford, helping to keep them on the right track and stop them missing lessons.

“Through the work of these taskforces, combined with our ongoing SEND Review, the independent review of children’s social care, and our investment in Alternative Provision and other specialist support, this government is levelling up opportunities for all young people to help fulfil their potential and achieve better outcomes.”

In Bradford, a £3,700,650 investment will help focus on improving pupils’ attendance, reducing the likelihood of young people being permanently excluded from school and keeping young people focused on their education.

The government have also today announced the 22 schools benefitting from Alternative Provision Specialist Taskforces, which work directly with young people in Alternative Provision settings to offer intensive support from experts, including mental health professionals, family workers, and speech and language therapists.

 Bringing this wider range of professionals together aims to reduce the risk to these pupils of being exploited and entering a life of crime, and helping them move into further education, employment, or training after they finish school.

Richard Bottomley, Headteacher, Bradford AP Academy Centre said: "At BAPA we are confident that students having speedy access to a range of skilled professionals, who have the time to build positive relationships with them, will support us in equipping the students with the life skills to go on to become successful adults and contribute positively to society.”  

These initiatives are part of the government’s plan to take significant action to improve outcomes for all children and young people, including the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.