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Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community

Construction begins at Oasis Restore – a revolution in youth justice

Construction begins at Oasis Restore – a revolution in youth justice

Oasis Restore places therapeutic, integrated education, health, and care at the heart of the secure estate taking people away from a life of crime.

England’s first secure school, Oasis Restore, which is set to open in early 2024 in Rochester, Medway, has entered its next phase with the commencement of construction work.

The ground-breaking ceremony took place on the secure school site on Thursday 28th July with Deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab, Oasis Founder & Leader, Steve Chalke, and the Oasis Restore Senior Leadership Team.

Earlier this year, the secure school was given the green light for charitable status after new legislation to create it received Royal Assent.

Oasis Restore secure school marks a revolution in the youth justice system, bringing the care and rehabilitation of children in custody in line with our 21st century understanding of neuroscience. Working with the Ministry of Justice, it aims to improve the life chances of young people in custody and is developing a therapeutic model of care and education with a strong focus on restoration and re-integration into society.

It will develop a safe environment with a holistic and integrated approach to education, care, and health to improve the life chances of some of the country’s most vulnerable young people.

Working with NHS England, Oasis Restore will deliver values-led care, and therapeutic curriculum embedded into the daily provision and culture of the secure school – creating provision that meets the whole needs of children in turn helping each young person to address the reason for coming into contact the youth justice system.

While the number of children and young people in custody has fallen by 70 per cent in the last two decades, those who remain have challenging and complex needs, often as a result of traumatic care histories, unmet health needs and have been deprived of their chance at education.

Oasis Restore will develop a school offer based on aspirational outcomes for children that support its students to leave the criminal justice system with a good education, life skills, and improved social and emotional well-being which will reduce reoffending rates, creating better opportunities to succeed, and cut the cost of crime.

Steve Chalke, MBE, Founder & Leader of Oasis said: "For too long society has bought into the idea that punishing young people will somehow benefit them. All the research shows this does not work. You can’t help a child by harming them. You can’t take children who have been wounded psychologically and somehow hope that punishment will heal them. Then, when you release them, wonder why so many reoffend."

“Oasis is not trying to ignore a young person’s crime, or to minimise the pain of their victim and family. But it’s time for a revolution in youth justice. And we’re excited that Oasis Restore – the country’s first secure school – with an emphasis on therapeutic care, education, and positive settlement into life beyond our gates, which enables them to thrive – will be that revolution.”

Vanessa Fowler, Deputy Director at NHS England (South East Region) said: "NHS England is proud to be part of this innovative new provision for children and young people and to have the opportunity to provide flexible healthcare services that will help achieve the best outcomes for these children, whilst also supporting our wider priorities to address health inequalities for vulnerable children.”

Construction work will continue through to the end of Summer 2023, with the first students expected to arrive in early 2024.

Oasis Restore is currently recruiting to its workforce and over the coming year it will have a range of employment opportunities for teachers and youth workers as it prepares to open in early 2024.