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Research Article

Re-engaging incarcerated children and young people with education and learning using authentic inquiry in Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK

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Received 05 Dec 2022
Accepted 23 Jun 2023
Published online: 07 Jul 2023


Children and young people who come into conflict with the law tend to be disengaged with education and learning. This paper reports on research from an EU Erasmus+ project in Spain, Italy, Germany and the UK. The research focused on the impact of Authentic Inquiry (AI) on learners in custodial or youth justice settings and the impact on educators and their pedagogy. Quantitative data (from 82 educators and 73 young people), demonstrated the young people could be re-engaged with education and learning as evidenced in the change in Learning Power profiles. Qualitative data (from 16 educators and 14 young people) showed the greatest impact to be on the emotional component of engagement. The AI had an impact xon educators as learners by improved Learning Power profiles and on their pedagogical approach. Ways to embed the approach into education in youth justice settings in the different country contexts are discussed.


The authors acknowledge the contribution to this research of the following contributors to the overall project: Dr Karsten König (Fachhochschule Dresden gGmbH, Germany); Dr Prof. Yvonne Knospe (Fachhochschule Dresden gGmbH, Germany); Dr Shaofu Huang (Jearni, UK); Natalia Garcia Guilabert (Fundacion Diagrama, Spain); Raquel Jimenez Martos (Fundacion Diagrama, Spain); Caroline Dickinson (CESIE, Palermo, Italy); Cloe Saint-Nom (CESIE, Palermo, Italy); Alice Valenza (CESIE, Palermo, Italy); Andy Watch; Dr Diane Hart.

Disclosure statement

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author(s).

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