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School Behind Bars

Part of the series School Matters

Screen capture from School Behind Bars


Discover the many challenges involved in teaching young people in a secure unit for child criminals, in this video for teachers on inclusion and special schools.

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Filmed at Vinney Green Secure Unit in Bristol, this video explores the everyday lives of the teachers who work at the unit and the young people who are held there.

The staff seek to win over these damaged and dangerous young people by showing warmth and respect, providing a safe and secure environment, which is something many of them have never experienced before.


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Extra materials (1)

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Comments (5)

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    • Vinny Green
      24 November 2009 - 16:08

      it was a very interesting film, did not recognise the place! I was at Vinny Green in the 1970's! it was called an assessment centre then!
      I was taken there because i kept running away from a children's home!
      It looked like it was working for the children, good idea about smaller classes, i was about 11 or 12 but in a class for 10 year olds!! nice to see we have moved on considerably since then. Also liked the lifestyle classes, that was one thing i felt i needed when i left care (with hindsight of course)!

    • smaller class sizes needed
      2 June 2009 - 11:14

      I can see a little of both sides to these comments - coming from a mainstream school with disruptive pupils destroying lessons - to a Pupil referral unit where smaller class sizes - positive regard and expectations do make a difference. I am not saying it is not hard work engaging these kids, but I do think smaller class sizes in school will slow down the rate at which these children become disengaged, enabling a better quality of education and eattention. And yes these places do exist nationwide - but most mainstreams are too busy to think about waht happens to the child that gets excluded??

    • To Toni Brodie
      27 May 2009 - 04:20

      Yes, I will point this out to trainee teachers, however, I would not want to put them off! Do you have any idea how difficult it is to teach a class with difficult children in it?
      Of course, I understand why they are difficult and that is why they end up in places like Vinney Green (if such places exist nationwide, which I doubt very much.) The real problem is that the education system is so tight that it does not make allowances for children who have very special needs, which is why I am lamenting the system. In this country NOW, we need very, very much smaller classes than ever before because so many children need so much more attention socially, emotionally and behaviourally. That is it in a nutshell. And if this was achieved, then we might not have the problems we now have with very many disaffected children, teenagers etc. It is a growing problem.

    • School Behind Bars
      26 May 2009 - 08:58

      I think you and I have watched different films.
      The staff at Vinney Green run a school that is a shining example of the difference that teachers, teaching assistants , care staff and other professionals who work in the school can achieve with the most disturbed and disturbing young people.
      I think a message in this film is that some children need to be taught in smaller groups and that staff need time to talk in groupsabout individual children and design better lessons for them.
      I hope that the teachers you train get a chance to see at firsthand the fantastic work that staff in EBD special schools and secure units do with the young people who do not fit their local comprehensive school system.

    • school behind bars
      26 May 2009 - 04:24

      Wonderful footage of what goes on behind bars!
      Thank you Teachers TV for, at last, pointing out the way the
      whole education process is going. It is bad, very bad and no-one
      is prepared to stand up and say so. I am a teacher in the primary sector, and a teacher trainer which means I have access to many schools in both the primary and secondary sector, and what I see is...... MAYHEM. Absolute mayhem. All schools are doing is trouble shooting and damage limitation, and what surprises me is that they don't shout about it! Why, because they are so busy with their lives that they don't see the big
      picture which basically means every school will end up like the ~Vinnery Green option. WAKE UP EVERYONE TO REALITY!