Professor Carol Fuller (Professor of Sociology of Education, University of Reading) wins a University of Reading’s 2022 Community Engagement Fund award (£1,400) for her project, titled ‘Empowering self; Breaking the school to prison cycle for women’. The project will begin in November 2023 and end in July 2023.

Working with Alana House and Reading Youth Offending Team, this project aims to intervene with a group of girls who are ‘at-risk’/permanently excluded from school, to address some of the areas that contribute to their exclusion. As there is a clear link between permanent exclusion and prison, this work is key in breaking the school to prison link and as such, offers numerous social benefits: including economic, community and social. It will highlight a perspective of ‘restorative justice’ that is proactive, collaborative and, focused on much earlier intervention.

Research suggests that behaviour leading to exclusions is often underpinned by poor mental health and Adverse Childhood Experiences. These impact significantly on self-confidence, self-esteem, and levels of resilience and is subsequently causally connected to criminal behaviour and prison. Professor Fuller’s research (Fuller, 2009, 2014, 2019, 2022) highlights the importance of negative perceptions on behaviour and aspirations, but also how these areas can be developed. With this in mind, this project builds on her previous work on the Marvellous Mums programme to deliver this bespoke intervention programme with community partners.

To learn more about Professor Fuller’s research interests, click here. She tweets at @ProfCarolFuller.