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News and events


Offender Learning Newsletters

Spring 2018 

Previous newsletters:

Winter 2017Spring 2017Autumn 2016Summer 2016Spring 2016Winter 2015-16Autumn 2015Summer 2015Spring 2015January 2015

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New publications

The Foundation published its research report Successfully using ICT to support learning in the secure estate in September 2017. The report includes examples of effective use of ICT to support learning in prison.

The Learning and Work Institute published its research report Family Learning in Prisons, 2017. The report reinforces the importance of family learning, partnership working and provides guidance on evaluating initiatives. 

The PLA published Greenhouses not warehouses: commissioning education to plant seeds of hope and opportunity to support prison Govenors and management through the process of commissioning eduucation.

Our order form has been updated and is now available to obtain printed copies of a wide variety of our free offender learning resources.

News from the sector

TES published the article A quiet transformation in prison education is underway, by Teresa Carroll on 11th January.

The PLA appoints a new chair Professor Tom Schuller. Tom will be overseeing changes at the PLA who are opening their membership to welcome any organisation or individual that shares the PLA’s purpose and mission. You can find out more on the Prisoner's Education Trust website.

Published Ofsted reports

In this section we will provide links to Ofsted reports for prisons achieving an overall grade of Outstanding or Good.

Congratulations to HMP Spring Hill on achieving an overall grade of Good in April. Feedback included:

"Prisoners gained useful work experience through their ROTL placements. Most employers treated prisoners as full employees, and supported them to gain qualifications or attend work-related training sessions."

Congratualations to HMP Altcourse for achieiving an overall grade of Good in March. Feedback included:

“The majority of tutors and trainers encouraged prisoners to develop independent problem solving skills. Through effective questioning techniques, tutors and trainers skilfully enabled prisoners to solve challenging problems for themselves. This helped them deepen their understanding and apply their knowledge and skills effectively.”

Congratualtions to HMP & YOI Peterborough (Women) for achieving an overall grade of Good in January. Feedback included:

"Learners in education and vocational training made good progress and achieved their learning goals. They could explain and demonstrate effectively the new skills and knowledge they had gained. For example, hospitality learners confidently demonstrated their newly acquired baking skills by entering a national baking competition, producing cakes of a very high standard. Learners were proud of their work and what they had achieved."


Improving Language, Improving Lives: ESOL delivery in the secure estate
ESOL practitioners, education managers and Heads of Learning and Skills are invited to this free event run by Learning and Work Institute, in partnership with the Bell Foundation and De Montfort University. The event will launch a set of new resources for ESOL tutors working in prisons or in the community with learners who have had recent experience of the Criminal Justice System. Delegates will also benefit from an introduction to a new ESOL screening tool for use in prisons and community rehabilitation settings, a policy update from the Ministry of Justice, and the opportunity to network and share practice. 

The event will be held in Birmingham on 24 April. To book your place, please complete the online booking form.

This event is being run as part of Improving Language, Improving Lives, a three-year project exploring challenges and good practice in ESOL screening and delivery.

Maths and English Practice Development Group

Practice development groups (PDGs) were set up to take forward the action plan produced by the National Quality Improvement Group (NQIG) for Offender Learning to improve the quality of provision.  As a member of the NQIG, the Education and Training Foundation has agreed to chair the practice development group: ‘Improving Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Maths and English’ on behalf of the Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS).

The next meeting will be held on 03.07.18.

If you are interested in attending the next meeting please contact Caryn Loftus, Associate of the Education and Training Foundation.


In this space we'll highlight continual professional development opportunities that may be of interest.

Would you like to improve your digital skills? The Foundation has a range of courses available including the Applying Digital Skills online courses.  Whilst the supported online courses are self-paced, there is an expectation that they are completed within four weeks. The course are given below, follow the links to find out more and to book a place.

Applying your digital skills in teaching and learning:


And don't forget the Foundation's mainstream offer. Take a look on the Foundation's website for a range of courses to support teachers, leaders and managers across the FE and Skills sector.  

Please note, if there is sufficient interest from staff with a prison, or cluster of prisons, then it may be possible to offer the course in-house to prison staff. Contact Caryn Loftus, Associate of the Education and Training Foundation if you would like to discuss arranging an in-house course for staff working in prisons.

We cannot guarantee the quality of any events not organised by or on behalf of the Foundation.

Key documents

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales Annual Report 2016 -17 (July 2017)

Unlocking potential: A review of education in prison, Dame Sally Coates (May 2016)

What is prison for? A theory of change exploring the value of learning in prison, Prisoner Learning Alliance (June 2016) 

Reducing reoffending - can we assess the contribution of prison education, Education and Training Foundation (March 2016)

Prison safety and reform, Ministry of Justice and National Offender Management Service (November 2016)

Family Learning in Prisons, The Learning and Work Institute (Sept 2017) 

Greenhouses not warehouses: commissioning education to plant seeds of hope and opportunity, PLA (Oct 2017)

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