Professional Education in Youth Justice: Mirror or Motor

Published 15/09/2010
Type Article
Author(s) Richard Hester, Dr Stephen Case
Corresponding Authors Richard Hester, Head of the Department of Health and Social Care, Faulty of Health and Social Care, The Open University

This paper explores the current training of youth justice practitioners and suggests that there is now a polarisation between the teaching of youth justice in England and Wales into an unhelpful vocational-academic dichotomy. The paper traces the development of the youth justice foundation degree and identifies a need to balance criticality with ‘underpinning knowledge’ by taking seriously the process of developing learning within the work setting. The paper concludes by recommending a ‘synthesised curriculum’ which would facilitate both employer engagement and ‘academic integrity’. This curriculum, in turn, may contribute to the development of ‘informed practitioners’ capable of addressing the very pressing needs of youth crime and antisocial behaviour.