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Education, Children and Violence.

A practice guidance report for school, college and alternative provision leaders on how to reduce children’s involvement in violence.

Published -
May 15, 2024

Our Education, Children and Violence guidance provides school, college and alternative provision (AP) leaders across England and Wales with five
evidence-based recommendations on how to help prevent children’s involvement in violence.

Evidence that underpins the guidance

The report focuses on everyday practice in schools, colleges and AP, drawing on the best available global evidence on how to prevent children’s involvement in violence, including the YEF Toolkit.

This guidance also uses the primary research we have conducted, including our evaluation of violence-prevention programmes and largescale surveys with 7,500 teenage children and 9,500 teachers.

A consultative group of school, college and AP leaders, academics and policy experts have steered this guidance, using their knowledge of practice to ensure our recommendations are feasible. Academic experts have also suggested additional rigorous and relevant studies to inform this guidance.


The recommendations in this report provide guidance on the ‘best bets’ from the underpinning evidence. School, college and AP leaders’ professional judgement on how to use these recommendations, as well as their knowledge of local contexts, remain critically important.

1 – Keep children in education


Being in education can protect children from violence.

Recommended action

  • Deliver evidence-based attendance improvement strategies (such as meetings with parents/carers and breakfast clubs). 
  • Implement whole-school and targeted behaviour support to reduce the need for exclusion.
  • Provide appropriate support for temporarily suspended and permanently excluded children.

2 – Provide children with trusted adults


Meaningful relationships with trusted adults can protect children from violence.

Recommended action

  • Provide one-to-one mentoring by trained adults to support vulnerable children.
  • Engage vulnerable children in sports with coaches who can support them.

3 – Develop children’s social and emotional skills


Effective social and emotional skills can protect children from violence.

Recommended action

  • Develop children’s social and emotional skills with a universal curriculum, targeted support and whole-school strategies.
  • Provide relationship violence reduction sessions to secondary-age children.
  • Implement an anti-bullying strategy.
  • Support access to therapy for those children who require additional support.

4 – Target efforts at the places and times where violence occurs


Violence happens more often in certain places and at certain times.

Recommended action

  • Survey children and talk to staff to determine where to focus your efforts.
  • Meet with partners to understand the local context and coordinate your safeguarding response.

5 – Cautiously consider unproven strategies and avoid harmful approaches


Resources are best spent on evidence-based strategies.

Recommended action

  • Cautiously consider unproven strategies (such as knife education programmes, trauma-informed practice training, and police in corridors and classrooms).
  • Avoid approaches that have been proven to cause harm (such as prison awareness programmes).


Download the guidance report

Download the full report of Education, Children and Violence report.

Download the recommendations poster

Download and print our summary of recommendations for the education practice guidance.


Dive into some of the stories that fed into this guidance.

  • Story

    Story:Bradford SAFE Taskforce

    As part of the Department for Education-funded £30 million SAFE Taskforce programme, Bradford was identified as one of 10 areas nationally where youth violence presents a significant problem. In 2022, Bradford was allocated £3.3 million by the DfE to bring together a group of local schools to reduce children’s vulnerability to serious violence. And so,…
  • Story

    Story:Saffron Valley

    Saffron Valley Collegiate is a Pupil Referral Unit with five provisions for children with a variety of needs including those who have been permanently excluded, those at risk of permanent exclusion, and other challenges within mainstream schools. Their Alternative Provision Specialist Taskforce (APST) team was set up as part of the Department for Education’s funding…