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Whether you work in school, college or Alternative Provision setting, or help to oversee and set policy for the education system, our job is to make it easy to know what works and to help you to make it happen.

At the Youth Endowment Fund, we aim to prevent children from being drawn into violence. We think any credible plan to reduce violence has to recognise that children rely on seven essential sectors to be safe, one of which is education. In each sector we are working with delivery organisations and system leaders to better understand and deliver on the changes most likely to reduce violence.  

There is so much we can all do to keep children safe. Our job is to make it easy to know what works and to help you to make it happen, whether you work in school, college and Alternative Provision setting or helping to oversee and set policy for the education system. 

Why are we focusing on education?

  • Exclusion from school is associated with offending. Theories suggest unsupervised time, negative peer associations, and stigmatising labels could contribute to this connection. While evidence highlights the association, quality research on the causal impact, especially in the UK, is lacking. 
  • Persistent and severe absence is associated with offending. Theories propose that increased crime opportunities and hindered safeguarding could contribute to this link, alongside the potential detrimental impact on academic attainment. Again, whilst evidence supports this connection, it does not yet support a direct causal connection. 
  • Promising emerging evidence. There are a range of school-based interventions that aim to create safe, positive places to learn, that show encouraging results related to reducing crime and violence.

Toolkit evidence

See below evidence from the YEF Toolkit about approaches to reducing violence that are often used in the Education sector:

Estimated impact approaches evidence quality
(30%+ less violence)
Social skills training
1 2 3 4 5
Sports programmes
1 2 3 4 5
Trauma-specific therapies  
1 2 3 4 5
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
1 2 3 4 5
(10%-30% less violence)
Relationship violence prevention lessons and activities
1 2 3 4 5
Bystander interventions to prevent sexual assault
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
(2%-9% less violence)
After-school programmes
1 2 3 4 5
Anti-bullying programmes
1 2 3 4 5
Interventions to prevent school exclusion
1 2 3 4 5
Adventure and Wilderness Therapy
1 2 3 4 5
Knife crime education programmes
1 2 3 4 5
Police in schools
1 2 3 4 5
Trauma-informed training and service redesign
1 2 3 4 5
Arts Programmes
1 2 3 4 5
(increased violence)
Prison awareness programmes
1 2 3 4 5

Explore more approaches on YEF’s Toolkit summarising the best available research evidence on preventing children and young people’s involvement in violence.

Change the system

How should the education system change to better prevent violence?

In March 2025 we’ll publish a report outlining the 5-10 ways the education system could make it easier to do what works to keep children safe from violence. We are working with a Strategic Group of senior leaders across education to help us shape these recommendations. The report will be informed by the evidence YEF has already produced, evaluations that will complete by Autumn 2024, and new research that YEF will commission following advice from the Strategic Group. 

Our Strategic Advisory Group for Education

Claire Heald
Director of Education / Academies Enterprise Trust
David Hughes CBE
CEO / Association of Colleges
Dheeraj Chibber
Luton Corporate Director, Children, Families and Education
Geoff Barton
General Secretary / Association of School and College Leaders
Gill LaRocque
Head Teacher / Saffron Valley Collegiate
Hamid Patel
Sir Hamid Patel CBE
Chief Executive / Star Academies
Kiran Gill
CEO / The Difference
Leora Cruddas CBE
CEO / Confederation of School Trusts
Martha Chapman-Nisar 
Sir Martyn Oliver
Chief Inspector / Ofsted
Natalie Perera
CEO / Education Policy Institute
Owen Evans
Chief Inspector / Estyn
Dame Rachel de Souza
Children’s Commissioner for England / Children’s Commission
Sarah Johnson
President / National Organisation of PRUs and APs

Find out how you can get involved with YEF

You are invited to join our events specifically for the education sector, to see how we can collectively tackle violence prevention for young people.

Get Involved – YEF Education News

If you’re passionate about improving opportunities and outcomes for young people, and would like to learn more about what works to prevent youth violence, then sign-up below to get the latest updates and opportunities.

We are funding nine projects exploring key questions related to social skills, absence, exclusion, behaviour and police in schools. Projects include new evaluations, secondary data analysis projects and systems research. 

View all of YEF’s Funding and Evaluation projects.