From education to employment

London College takes lead in tackling Gangs and Youth Violence

Waltham Forest College teamed up with Safer London and Spark2Life to deliver a series of workshops on youth violence topics that directly affect young people.

Waltham Forest College is working to help young people to stay safe from violence.   The College’s ambitious plan will raise awareness of gangs and youth violence through dedicating a whole month to empower students with knowledge about how to stay safe. This is a response to the increased violence across London and the launch of the London Needs You Alive campaign by the Greater London Authority.

The College is holding specialist workshops for students on topics such as managing conflict, online safety, healthy relationships, consent and safety planning. These workshops aim to help young people to avoid potential confrontations and safeguard them in a wide variety of situations.

Student President Terri, said:  “I find these workshops really helpful as I plan to use what I learnt in my day to day life, even after I finish my studies. I am happy that the College recognises these concerns by being responsive to what is happening in London that clearly demonstrates they take student safety serious”

College staff have participated in a presentation from the Metropolitan Police giving insights into gang violence.  The police shared their knowledge on the life cycle of gangs, local and national trends, county line crime and the recruitment of gang members to help staff work to prevent involvement.


Director, Amir Ahmed, said: “This is a hot topic for Colleges in London and we have a major responsibility to ensure our students can identify the signs of being in vulnerable positions. We are proud that our students feel safe on-site and their behaviour was recognised as exemplary in our recent Ofsted inspection. By arranging these specialist workshops we are continuing to be proactive and prepare young people well for life in modern Britain.”

The College is also supporting a research project conducted by the University of Cambridge and the University of Kent. It is examining the law of ‘joint enterprise’, the term given to a form of secondary liability in common law, which allows an individual to be convicted of an offence committed by another. The project funded by the Economics and Social Research Council includes interviewing students to understand their knowledge of joint enterprise and the risks to their future.

Dr Susie Hulley from Cambridge University leading the research study, said: ‘It is crucial for us to ascertain the extent to which young people experience serious youth violence and really understand its potential consequences, including physical injury, psychological trauma and lengthy prison sentences. Waltham Forest College has been extremely accommodating in providing access to young people and the students we have interviewed have been incredibly open and engaged. The data generated by the interviews will shape the research findings and will allow us to contribute much needed evidence to the current debates around serious youth violence and appropriate legal responses, including joint enterprise.

The research will be published in early 2019 and will be used to influence future legislation in joint enterprise.


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