As young people, we are impressionable and are therefore always looking to others for cues. It is hardwired into our system to copy the way other people act in order to be a part of society. We learn about everything from others; including how to walk, talk, eat, think and relate. By doing this, we understand how to do things for and by ourselves. We learn from our relatives, teachers, friends and even celebrities.
However, our biggest influences are the people around us. When these people fail to set the best examples for us, whether it is because they do not know how or through their absence, serious problems arise. Young people often copy what they see, bad behaviour persists and they may not realise that the things they are doing are wrong, simply because they don’t know any different. This is why there is a need for positive role models. Role models are important because young people look up to someone they respect, regardless of whether that person is a good influence on them or not.
The young people who are being excluded from school due to disruptive behaviour, often have negative influences, low aspirations resulting in poor life outcomes which can lead to social exclusion. According to studies carried out by the Institute of Public Policy Research in 2017, half of the UK prison population were excluded from school and half of all excluded pupils go on to suffer mental health problems; showing a link between the two factors.
Our theory of change is that by providing positive role models to raise the aspirations of underachieving young people, through their participation in our programmes and as part of a preventative measure to tackle exclusions, FORM180 can influence young people to turn away from crime, antisocial behaviour and youth violence.