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Enable positive growth and make visible the potential of our youth at risk.

MA 2023
Secure school, Progress tracker, Portfolio

Our partner Oasis is on a difficult journey to reform the youth justice system by opening their first Secure School, an alternative to the current Young Offender Institutes. Their success will be measured by the reduction rate of reoffending after walk out. We believe that the key to mitigate reoffending is in successful rehabilitation in the community. Project Become is a progress tracker to be used by the Oasis Secure School.

Become is based on our hypothesis that tracking the kids progress through the positive behaviour framework of COM-B and making it visible to the children will boost their transformation. This progress must be compiled into a portfolio containing a resume of skills, recommendations from staff and peers, and a profile written by themselves, which will help them reintegrate back into society and help society to be more accepting.


We worked closely with the Oasis Restore team and they gave us the opportunity to look deeper into how we can support the reintegration of young offenders into society. Their insights and constant communication were integral to the success of our project. We also collaborated with Joseph Sue, the counsellor at Belmont Park School . Joseph helped us with insights and gave us the opportunity to visit the school and speak to his peers and pupils. We also got the chance to visit the pupils and moderators at K-Sports in Aylesford to validate our ideas.


England's first secure school.

The Ministry of Justice has collaborated with Oasis, which has experience in community building and working with at- risk youth. They are building a value-driven secure school with a focus on relationships, discovery and, community. They want to transform the youth justice system so that the environment for children is more like a school and less like a prison . They need our help to make this happen.

They want to establish England’s first secure school, with the hope that it can replace the Youth Offender Institute in the future. Ministry of Justice and Oasis requested support from the RCA to build a functioning blueprint, establish new roles for staff and visualise, how it will all come together and see if we can collectively enhance it.

Research and Insight

Desk Research

In the beginning, our team started researching Oasis, to better understand who they are and what their past projects are like.  


Everyone in the group then divided the research work by looking into the current youth justice system in the UK and other justice systems, worldwide, to compare the weakness and strengths. While doing the research we were made aware of the cultural contexts that guide and support the youth justice systems around the world. Moreover, we also researched staff management in the UK and conducted a literature review to learn more about the Ministry of Justice in the United Kingdom.


We collated information from our desk research and constructed unique questions for our different interview sessions with experts working at Oasis, including, Andrew Willetts (Principal Director).

Dr. Celia Sadie (Director of Care & Wellbeing), Cara Beckett (Director of Learning & Enrichment). In addition to, Karl an (ex- prisoner and artist), and Joseph Sue, a School (Counsellor specifically for social,

emotional, and mental health needs). ert. 

Site Visit

The structure of the space is oriented by the idea of trust. The following expectations are set for the children. They will go from one class to another by themselves; they will behave in the room without any lock; and they will get enough freedom to move around the open space by themselves.

The design of the space is focused on making the place feel comfortable, inviting, and trauma-responsive. They have undetermined rooms that allow for flexibility and give them room to adapt. One interesting touchpoint that the Oasis team mentioned was that a lot of incidents of aggression and violence happen on stairwells, so they wanted to design them in a way to reduce such incidents.

Problem Statement

How might we create a progress indicator to help mark the transformation of the children in institutions and support their reintegration back into society by showing their holistic progress through various touchpoints in the institutions as evidence against the stigma of a criminal record?

Design Solution & Validation

Design Artefacts

1.Entry Assessment and Weekly Assessment

The assessment forms collect the barrier they are addressing in the COM- B model attribute, which indicates the target behaviour for the student and its measurable action. This process will be taken when the student first arrives at the school or before they join the school to understand their starting point instead of judging them based on the given documents from the court or police. The assessment will help the staff at the school to understand the students better in order to help create a schedule for them that will lead to the students’ personal goals. The progress is marked in the weekly meetings by the core team through scores for each attribute. After that, the staff will be able to log the scores in the designed excel sheet that can be plotted into a graph to show the overview of the student’s progress record.

2.Monthly Newsletter (Progress Report)

The results are compiled into a visually engaging newsletter that indicates to the student’s goals and the progress they are making to motivate them to do better. The newsletter also shows that the student is part of a community that exists to support them not punish them. Since the designed system is very flexible, the student’s goals can always be adapted as they keep growing.


Before the student leaves the school, their capability is reflected through recommendation letters by the staff. Their opportunities are reflected by a resume and CV containing all their their accomplishments, achievements, and vocational skills. Character, motivation, and passion are reflected through the profile, co-designed with the student. These three artefacts build a portfolio that the student walks out with. They will be able to carry the portfolio with pride.

Validation From Oasis Team

“From my point of view, you have been to be able to see the whole school activity metric that happen in a week or month by month. It will be amazing for individual staff who are the lead professional as they will be able to see the progress of the student. We can also see the area that we can improve or we’re still lacking so that it can become the focus for the next month. It’s great.”

“... ….If the child can see themselves differently and can see the future beyond that of offending it can create a great impact to them. And I really like the language that you work around with the Passport which is something that you need permission to be given, unlike a Portfolio you have to work very hard to create it. It’s a nice language. I like it.”

-Andrew Willetts (Principal Director, Oasis)



The Oasis Secure School starts with 49 students, and after the first two years of using the progress tracker they will be able to see the difference and use the metrics to prove that their model works. With this data, hopefully, more institutions can transform to schools and the Oasis model

can expand to the rest of the UK and be able to eliminate the YOIs completely. From helping 49 kids to around 350 kids.


The progress tracker can also be adapted into a computer program and a database that keeps growing as the staff learn more about the children, which will also help indicate early to the staff what might be the right interventions for the children and to create the best plans for them. It is a system that learns from itself and never stops growing.


“Interpreting more inclusive ways for education for all children, especially the neurodiverse in the common crowd.” The Secure School has laid very real actionable plans to help kids with extreme behaviour and they are confident that it will make a difference, the progress tracker is here to support them. The progress tracker database can be adopted by all schools to design interventions for children at the current age who have diverse physical, mental, and emotional needs. If all educational institutes can cater to each child holistically, we may just not need institutions for youth justice.


This project was under the guidance and supervision of Judah Armani. His passion for the subject fuelled our curiosities constantly, expanding our thinking and pushed us to find simple yet unique insights that would have great impact. We are eternally grateful. 

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