Leadership in Prison Education: Meeting the challenges of the new system

Prisoner Learning Alliance

A new report from FETL examines prison education and asks how leadership can maximise its contribution

Education can play a crucial part in enabling the rehabilitation and reintegration into society of prisoners, and leaders – both in further education and prisons – have a critical role in strengthening this, according to a new report from the Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL).

Leadership in prison education: Meeting the challenges of the new system, written by Angela Sanders for the Prisoner Learning Alliance, convened by the Prisoners’ Education Trust, reviews the contribution of leadership in the light of major changes in the prison system, and the challenges and opportunities they have created.

Based on interviews in 10 prisons, it aims to identify how leaders can develop a whole-prison education culture, which would engage learners, and all staff working in the prison, to support the delivery and development of education across the prison community.

FETL President Dame Ruth Silver said: ‘I am delighted that the Further Education Trust for Leadership has been able to support this important project on the leadership of education in prisons. It is a critical topic, yet it is one that policy-makers often neglect, and that politicians are often reluctant to champion.

‘With a new government in place and recent reforms to the prison system appearing to give governors greater autonomy in how they choose to allocate their resources, it is an opportune time to review the leadership of prison education, and to consider how best to maximise its potential contribution: to the lives of prisoners and the prison community, to wider society and to the demands of social justice. It is also a moment to review the role of further education colleges in the education of prisoners and to think about how we can best support prisoners in building better futures for themselves on release.

‘I hope this report will prompt a change, stimulating dialogue between the prison and education communities, encouraging governors and other prison leaders to put education at the heart of their institutions, and demonstrating to the leaders of colleges and independent training providers the important role they could play in this area.’

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