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Working in the sector

Offender learning - a career of choice

The Coates Review put prison education in the spotlight. It's a great time to be considering a career within offender learning which offers a range of opportunities.

Find out more about teaching in a prison

Teach Inside is an online resource, created by those already working in prison education to entice others to do so! The Raising the Bar videos (on the right) form part of this resource, they show how teaching in prison while challenging can be very worthwhile.

An screenshot taken of the Teach Inside online resource

To access the module, register for free with Foundation Online Learning, and you will find Teach Inside within the Teaching and Learning section.

Do you still have questions? In July 2017 SET ran a webinar: Working in prisons, a number of questions were asked during the webinar about working in prisons and you can read both the questions and the responses.

Discover careers options

Find out about the qualifications you need for the different career pathways in Offender Learning: a career of choice.

Image of the Offender learning a career of choice booklet

Visit the FE Advice website for information about becoming a teacher and incentives for training.

Make a difference

The Prisoner Learning Alliance (PLA) published What is prison education for? A theory of change exploring the value of learning in prison in which former prison learners' views and personal experiences.

An image of the What is prison education for document

They highlight the benefits of learning not only to themselves but also their institutions.

Read the article, Imagine our society without Further Education. It simply doesn't work by Kaye Devlin, English Lecturer at HMP Durham which gives an insight into why she finds her work so worthwhile. It is one of a collection of articles published in the booklet, Voices of the FE Sector: The purpose of the FE sector now.

Your really can make a difference

Cyril Derriviere spent many years in prison before he changed his life through education. Cyril is now a QTLS qualified teacher working in London teaching brick laying and construction in London with young people who have emotional and behavioural difficulties. Watch the video to learn more about how SET membership (see Professional Development Opportunities below) and gaining QTLS has changed his life.

Are you studying to become a teacher?

Request a placement in prison education

It could lead to a rewarding career:

"The placement allowed me to experience teaching in a completely different environment and made me aware that a career in teaching does not mean solely teaching in a school. I now teach in the offender learning environment and if I had not undertaken a placement this is not a route that I would have known existed." 

Teacher, Weston College.

Look for job opportunities

There are many routes into prison education for new and existing teachers as well as people direct from industry.

Use the OLASS Jobs website to explore career opportunities. 

Discover how teaching in prison is different?

The University and College Union (UCU) represent educators working in prisons.Their short film explores the unique challenges of teaching in a prison environment, the similarities with teachers in other contexts and why teachers choose offender learning.

Professional Development Opportunites

Learn about SET membership

Visit the Society for Education and Training (SET) website to find out how our professional membership body can support you in your role within training and education.

"SET membership is valuable to me as a professional tutor and manager in the Offender Learning Sector as it enables me to keep up to date in new developments across the sector, feel part of a larger organisation and also enables me to share new ideas and practices with my tutor team."  Steph Taylor, College Leader, HMP Dovegate (Serco)

Join events and courses

On our News and Events page we highlight events and courses relevant to the sector.


Find out what's happening in the sector by subscribing to our free Offender Learning Newsletter.

Explore our resources

We have a wide variety of resources that can help you to develop your practice. You'll find resources relevant to the web page you're exploring at the bottom of that page.

An image of the maths starters and enders resource

The materials below were chosen to help you not only to be aware of the context of working in the justice sector but also helping you overcome some of the challenges. You can request printed copies of a wide variety of free offender learning resources using this order form.

Related Resources

An image of the cover of Offender Learning - a career of choice

Offender learning: a career of choice (March 2017)

HM Cheif Inspector's Annual Report 2017-18

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Annual Report 2017-18

Image of Ofsted Annual Report 2016-17

Ofsted Annual Report 2016/17

Image of the report FE and Skills Inspection and outcomes as at 31 August 2017

The Further Education and Skills Inspections and Outcomes as at 31 August 2017 main findings report from Ofsted

an image of the prisons map

Prisons map

An image of the Prison Safety and reform report

Prison safety and reform

An image of the cover of the report: A theory of change exploring the value of learning in prison

A theory of change exploring the value of learning in prison

Coates Review image

Unlocking potential: a review of education in prison (Coates Review)

Workforce data image

SIR Interim Dashboard - Offender Learning - 2015

Reducing reoffending research image

International perspectives on prison education: reducing reoffending

Image of the Ofsted Handbook for inspection for prisons and young offenders institutions

Handbook for the inspection of learning and skills and work activities in prisons and young offender institutions from September 2015