Support for NIACE’s work in prisons

31st October 2013

Speaking at NIACE’s Continuing Innovation and Effective Practice in Offender Learning conference, Jeremy Wright MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, said:

“I’m very grateful to NIACE for its support for the Virtual Campus, especially for the development of the Peer Mentors Scheme. And of course the Institute believes in there always being another chance in learning, so its development of the intensive model of literacy and numeracy is something we want to see rolled out in all prisons.

“I agree…that the role of the family is vital. Men who learn to read can read to their kids, and a large part of rehabilitation is the family.

“We welcome NIACE’s report into the particular issues facing female prisoners, and we recognise that women have certain other issues around self esteem and their ties with their children.

“I’m interested in how we can enable learners in custody to develop digital skills, so maybe through thinking more about in-cell technology, and its use in giving offenders access to learning in different ways.”

NIACE’s conference explored how the offender learning landscape has undergone crucial changes following a government review – Making Prisons Work – in 2011. It heard how many prisons have been working creatively and in partnership with employers and Third Sector organisations to offer better quality offender learning programmes. An increasing number of prisons are using the virtual campus and progress has been made in delivering Apprenticeships for offenders serving custodial sentences.

Carol Taylor OBE, NIACE Director of Research and Development, said:

“The learning needs of offenders have been put under the spotlight following the publication of Matthew Coffey’s reportMaking Prisons Work. The concentration on the lack of English and maths skills, employability skills and vocational skills is of particular interest to NIACE.

“NIACE believes very strongly that adult Learners in prison need access to a range of ways to get and keep them interested in learning. The best teaching and learning strategies take into account the wider needs of the learner, and many of these were showcased yesterday.

“NIACE was very pleased to welcome the Under Secretary of State for Justice, Jeremy Wright, and the Minister for Skills, Matthew Hancock, to speak at this event, who offered their support for a range of ways of working with offenders.”