Project EPIC (Educating Young Persons in Custody) offers free legal advice and representation to children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) detained in or leaving secure children’s homes, secure training centres (STCs) and Young Offender Institutions (YOIs).
Project EPIC was founded following a number of changes under the new SEN regime that mean that children detained in the criminal justice system who have a Education and Health Care (EHC) Plan must continue to have this supported by their home local authority. These changes affect those aged 18 and under detained in a secure children’s home (SCH), secure training centre (STC) and Young Offender Institution (YOI). The changes came into force on 1 April 2015 and were introduced by the revised SEN Code of Practice (January 2015) and Special Educational Needs and Disability (Detained Persons) Regulations 2015.
These new regulations represented an acceptance by the government that a new approach was needed to tackle the disproportionately high rates of SEN amongst children in the secure estate. Project EPIC was set up to help young persons enforce their legal rights under this new regime.
Project EPIC is run by lawyers and provides free legal advice and representation to children in custody to help them get the education they need. EPIC can help with assessments of special educational needs, the provision of education and educational support in detention, and perhaps most importantly of all with the educational provision to be made when the young person leaves custody. Transitions are particularly important to ensure disruption to education is minimised.
Project EPIC can help children in Young Offenders Institutions, Secure Training Centres and Secure Childrens Homes who are 18 or under, as well as those about to enter and leave such institutions.
Read more about Project Epic here.
A legal overview by Paul Greatorex (a barrister at 11 King’s Bench Walk) is available here.