The School Growth Project

by Penal Reform Solutions in Winchester, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 27th December 2019 we successfully raised £100 with 1 supporters in 28 days

We want to raise money to run a growth-centred pilot programme for secondary school children, who are at risk of exclusion.

by Penal Reform Solutions in Winchester, England, United Kingdom

We need your help!  

Penal Reform Solutions is an organisation that grows positive cultures collaboratively with organisations.  We specialise in working with organisations in the UK to support them in transforming their culture, to create conditions of personal growth for all. We feel passionately about making spaces, places for growth. 

Our vision is to work as a greater force to reduce social harm and promote positive cultures within our schools and prisons. To reduce further victims of crime, we aim to improve schools and prisons by building meaningful and positive ways of working, all of which are based on lessons derived from our Norwegian research outcomes.

Our ambition is to continue to support prisons but extend our success to work within schools.  We recruit people who have come out of prison, to use their experiences to inform others of prison and offending, whether that be around issues of knife crime, gang culture or offending generally.  We want to extend our Growth Project into schools, to develop the principles of growth as a preventative strategy to social exclusion and harm. There is a clear link between school exclusion and offending, with 85% of prisoners being excluded from school at least once in their lives.

With your money we will carry out the School Growth Programme, working with parents, pupils and teachers to support those who need greater social inclusion. 

We ask for pledges from you and in return we not only promise to deliver what we say but will provide 5 sessions of free support to relevant charities, who are struggling with funding. 

Penal Reform Solutions is led by Dr Sarah Lewis and her team of experts, (see .  Sarah has worked within Criminal Justice for the past 15 years and as a Senior academic researched why Norwegian Prisons are effective places to rehabilitate people.  Norwegian prisons are some of the most effective and humane prisons in the world and boast a 20% re-conviction rate (compared to about 60% in England and Wales) They create healthy communities due to their focus on inclusion, humanity and equality. 

The Norwegian research outcomes led to the creation of the Principles of Growth - these principles have been found to support growth and rehabilitation and our aim is to use them within prisons and schools to address the risks of offending and support the healthy development of staff, pupils, residents and in turn our communities. 

Statistical Evidence

The Statistics for England and Wales evidence how important it is to have the right environment within our schools and prisons and why the Principles Of Growth are a crucial element to the wellbeing and safety to us individually, our families and our communities.

According to the MOJ Prisons reached a record high in 2017;

  • Prisoner on prisoner assaults rose 11% to 21,270
  • Prisoner assaults on staff rose 23% to 8,429
  • Self-Harm rose 11% to 44,651

(In total there were a total of 29,485 assault incidents in England and Wales prisons.)

The main cause for School exclusion from England and Wales during 2017/18 recorded;

  • Pupils expelled due to conducting a Physical assault against a pupil was 67,227 and due to disruptive behaviour was 123,055. 
  • Nationally the statistics show us the higher the deprived area, the higher the exclusion figures are and the main recorded causes were anti-social, emotional and mental health factors
  • Local Authority Secondary Schools permanently excluded 1,969 pupils and 88,365 pupils had a fixed exclusion. Academies were almost 24% higher statistically.

(According to 17/18 School Census in England)

What we stand for? 

Penal Reform Solutions stands for justice, fairness and humane environments for all. We embrace the voices of those that come into contact with us to find sustainable solutions to the inherent problems in existence and take a holistic view.  Using the Principles Of Growth PRS work hard to create conditions that support personal growth. We feel with the current climate of harm (including mental health, crime, exclusion and substance misuse), we can make a difference within our schools and prisons, focusing on prevention, in order to create safer communities. 

Evidence Based 

In 2016 – 2019 we carried out a pilot Growth Project, set in a Category C prison. We successfully contributed to an improved environment and engaged the prison community in focusing on humane practices, which supported growth. The impact was so successful that the establishment raised their profile with inspectors and put them in a positive spotlight for the first time in years.

The positive impact of the Prison Growth Project after only 18 months were:

Greater education around rehabilitative culture. • Increased joint working and unity.• Better relationships between staff and residents. • Assisting with dynamic security. • Positive change to the identity of the prison. • A greater awareness and appreciation of rehabilitation. • The development of positive staff attitudes. • An appetite for change, a greater focus on well-being and community. • Reducing anti-social behaviours in residents. • Embracing diversity and ethical practice. • Greater meaning to prison. • A focus on the principle of normality. 

One prisoner said; “In twelve years in prison I have never come across anything like the growth project; it has helped towards establishing a rehab culture and is rehabilitating inmates/ residents.”  

An officer also commented; “I think growth is a positive opportunity to allow change and development within our environment and to build a culture we can be proud of.”

This was achieved by; 

  • Designing and facilitating training that empowers staff, building resilience and teamwork. 
  • Delivering advisory services for organisations wanting to develop and enhance their culture.
  • Offering through-care support to prisoners and opportunities for their future employment within prison reform. 
  • Working with prisoners, to develop a positive identity, promoting their well-being and provide them with opportunities to 'do good' for the community.  

Please have a look at our website for testimonials, publications and more information-

This year we have had over 7 prisons interested in working with us, but these prisons lack funding available for such projects, so continue to add to the above statistics of harm and loss, that we hear time and time again which often impact negatively on our communities.  We also have a number of schools who would like to develop their growth culture and similarly, are struggling with funding and need help.  Please help us build safer communities, every little helps build hope and a safer place for us all. With your generous pledge, together we can make a huge difference by improving our communities and cultures for future years to come.

Please donate and help us!  Also..Join our Growth Alliance by helping us, help our communities feel safe, find hope, grow as people and as a society. For more details visit out website. 


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£10 or more

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£10 Reward

We will send you a Growth Alliance Pin to thank you for your support.

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