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Maths, English and ESOL

There has been a focus on maths, English, ESOL and ICT for offenders for many years. This is because some 50% of prisoners may be classified as having some form of mental disability, learning difficulty or may simply never have had the level of education to understand basic rules allowing effective communication, including numeracy skills. That deficit cannot simply be addressed by narrow specialist classes. An unrestricted diet of literacy or numeracy will not provide the motivational hook to start an offender on their journey to becoming a more responsible citizen. Making Prisons Work, p.19

Improving capacity to deliver maths and English is a high priority for the Foundation and we have worked with providers across all the Education and Training sector to develop a rich resource of research, training and materials for teachers, trainers and leaders to improve their practice and support learners to higher levels of achievement.  To find out about the support that is available for those delivering maths and English visit our maths and English exhibition sites.

Sally Alexander, Executive Director of Offender Learning at Milton Keynes College talks about the support they've accessed from the Education and Training Foundation to ensure continual development; including their maths and English provision.

Watch our short video or read the English, Maths, ESOL and ICT chapter in our teaching and learning toolkit guide introducing you to some of the resources below and raising key questions for you to consider.  

When learners undertake an initial assessment in maths and English they are given a level(s) which provides an indication of their maths and English skills. See our levels chart for examples of the skills used at each level from Entry 1 to Level 2.

Below are key resources which cover the teaching and embedding of both maths and English which will be useful for those working in the secure estate. There are also separate pages for resources specific to maths and English/ESOL. You can request printed copies of free resources to support maths, English and ESOL using this order form.

Related Resources

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Family Learning in Prisons: A Resource for Prisons and Learning Providers

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Outstanding for embedding at HMP Hollesley Bay

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Pictorial approach to engaging learners with workshop activity at HMP Garth

Maths and English levels chart

Maths and English levels chart

NLN materials

Collection of e-learning materials for maths and English plus a range of academic and vocational subjects

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Supporting embedded maths and English – CPD materials for teachers and trainers working in offender learning

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Embedding Functional English and Maths into an entrepreneurial task to create online learning materials

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Developing problem solving for functional skills

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Developing Functional Skills diagnostic assessments for E1 to L2

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Skilled for Health embedded learning materials

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Delivery model for embedding Functional Skills into a vocational course for Offender Learning