This piece of research has its roots in direct work with three children in an Edinburgh high school, who were struggling at school, as a result of their mother's long-term prison sentence.
It addresses issues around why schools are generally unaware of which children are affected by imprisonment, how staff can actively support children and their carers through the school system, and in what ways imprisoned parents can continue to engage in their children's education. The report provides an overview of the main issues relating to schools and parental imprisonment, gives an account of best practice from research in Australia and the US, and concludes with a set of proposals for further development work in this field. It also places the work in context of wider initiatives to support children and families affected by imprisonment in Scotland and how support in schools is helping to take this work forward. The paper highlights the need for a coordinated approach between education, criminal justice, social work, and NGOs so that some of society's most vulnerable children are recognised and supported. Underpinned by the guiding principal that "schools provide a major opportunity to support children of incarcerated parents and to help meet their needs" (UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Day of General Discussion 2011), the report's key findings highlight that training for teachers around issues of imprisonment, and its effects on children, is essential. Information and support for children affected should be available in all schools and an imprisoned parent can still play a key role in their child's education, even from behind bars.
See The Role of Schools below: