Skip to main content

Understanding the educational background of young offenders

Joint experimental statistical report from the Ministry of Justice and Department for Education

This is a joint report between the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Department for Education (DfE) that presents initial findings from a major data sharing project between the two departments. The aim of this analysis is to better understand the educational background, including attainment outcomes and characteristics, of young people aged 10 to 17 years who were sentenced in 2014 in England and Wales. The year 2014 has been used as this is the most recent full year of data included in the data share. The findings do not draw any causal links between Free School Meals, Special Educational Needs, attainment, absences and other characteristics and the propensity to offend.

The overall aim of the project is to improve understanding of the characteristics of offenders and their educational background, in particular; educational outcomes (such as attainment and absence levels), pupil characteristics (such as Special Educational Needs (SEN) status) and Free School Meal (FSM) eligibility) and social care characteristics such as looked after children (LAC) status.

By linking personal level administrative data between the Department for Education (DfE) and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) it has facilitated analysis of offenders’ characteristics and attainment prior to, and in some cases post, their first recordable offence1. Results include information on young people who were sentenced for a proven offence in 2014, the most recent comprehensive data available from the data share, and their prior educational attainment and characteristics.

The results presented in this report represent the output from the first analysis of this matched dataset and further publications, which provide more detailed findings or focus on particular themes, are planned. The matched data has been quality assured and cleaned; however, given the complexity of the data and the fact that it is still in the early stages of analysis, all findings in this report should be treated as experimental and provisional.