“The best school I’ve ever been to”: Re-connecting with education in youth detention, Australia-wide.

Ms Stavroola Anderson1

1Australasian Corrections Education Association, Sydney, Australia

In each of the 18 locations in Australia in which young people are detained on justice-related matters, operates a school or education centre. The educational staff who work in these locations navigate the requirements, restrictions, policies and procedures of both educational governing bodies and youth-justice related site administrators to provide relevant learning experiences to students with complex needs. This poster and oral presentation will provide a brief summary of education provision within justice-related youth detention across Australia. It will highlight the unique challenges that youth justice detention environments present for educational planning, programming and delivery. More importantly, it will give some insight into the outstanding and innovative work being conducted by educational staff in these environments. Such insight will help to explain why some young people have referred to their educational experience within justice-related youth detention as ‘the best school they have ever been to’.


Stavroola has expertise in providing education to students at risk of educational disengagement. Specifically, she has worked with students engaged with the juvenile justice system and students with learning difficulties, behavioural and emotional disorders, mental illness, and physical and cognitive impairments. Stavroola has a proven record in developing and implementing innovative programs, particularly relating to literacy, language development and education engagement. She has a reputation for comprehensively responding to wide-ranging educational challenges, and developing productive relationships with students and staff from a range of cultural and regional backgrounds. Stavroola is passionate about improving educational access and relevance for young people who have difficulty engaging with traditional educational systems. Currently she is undertaking research into associations between oral language skills and behaviour in young offenders.