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Offender Learning NewslettersOffender Learning Spring Newsletter 2018

Spring 2018 

Previous newsletters:

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

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New publications

HM Chief Inspector for prisons England and Wales Annual Report 2017-18 was published on 11th July. 

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

The Prisoners' Education Trust have shared the keynote speech and panel discussions from their 2018 Academic Symposium. These include Phil Novus, Governor at HMP Leicester explaining why opening their doors and working with the community has worked and Richard Ward, Ministry of Justice, outlining the changes to prison education contracts and what that means to providers.

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

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 Hull on achieving an overall grade of Good in July. Feedback included:

"Education and vocational training were good, characterised by well-planned lessons that engaged mixed ability groups of prisoners. Teachers used prisoners’ starting points to plan
challenging learning activities that developed their knowledge and skills effectively. "

Congratulations to HMP Oakwood on achieving an overall grade of Good in July. Feedback included:

"Peer mentoring was outstanding. Mentors were well trained through the college’s ‘Work Skills’ programme, and in lessons they set tasks that supported prisoners’ skills development and complemented teaching and learning. As a result, prisoners developed good employability skills. Other prisoner mentors were responsible for delivering induction activities, developing course materials and ensuring that prisoners attended scheduled

Congratualtions go to HMP&YOI Low Newton on achieving an overall grade of Good in June. Feedback included:

"Leaders and managers had successfully developed the learning, skills and work provision to meet the needs of the women at the prison, focusing particularly well on their empowerment, employability and enterprise skills. This vision informed curriculum developments and was well communicated to staff at all levels. Strategies for involving women were effective, helping them to deal with personal and social issues and to develop the confidence and skills they needed to succeed."

Congratualtions go to HMP Leicester on achieving an overall grade of Good in May. Feedback included this good practice example:

"There was an excellent range of creative activities to support personal development and rehabilitation."

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."

Congratulations 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."


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: to be confirmed

If you are interested in attending the next meeting please email:


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. Please email: 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 2017 -18 (July 2018)

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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