From education to employment

Ofsted praises ‘curriculum designed to meet national skills shortages’ as HMP Askham Grange receives ‘Good’ Rating

Leading prison education provider Novus is proud to be the education provider at HMP Askham Grange that has been rated Good by Ofsted in recent inspection.

Leading prison education provider Novus has been praised for its ‘effective curriculum’ that is ‘designed to meet national skills shortages’ as part of an Ofsted inspection which rated the provision at HMP Askham Grange as ‘Good’ while recognising behaviour and attitudes as ‘Outstanding’.

The ‘Good’ rating for overall effectiveness is the culmination of a concerted and collaborative effort at the prison to help ensure prisoners have the best possible opportunity to gain the skills that are so crucial to breaking cycles of reoffending. This has been achieved in a prison education environment where many learners have had a previous negative experience of education.

In its report on HMP Askham Grange Ofsted highlighted the effectiveness of vocational training providing pathways into employment opportunities with vacancies. There was a particular mention for providing learners with digital skills that are critical to thriving on release.

Within the report, Ofsted specifically called out the work that Novus provides, highlighting the knowledge and expertise of teachers, stating:

“Teachers and trainers were well qualified and experienced. They kept their curriculum knowledge up to date through frequent training. For example, they received training in teaching methods to support women with additional needs, and best practice in using technology in teaching. Staff felt well supported by leaders and managers and their workloads were manageable.”

“Teachers in English classes planned the curriculum logically, enabling women to develop their knowledge and skills over time. They used their knowledge of starting points well to plan individualised learning and made good progress.”

Commenting on the report Novus Managing Director Peter Cox, commented:

“We are proud to have contributed to Ofsted rating HMP Askham Grange as ‘Good’ as we continue to make maintaining a quality provision across the establishments we work in our number one priority.  We are particularly pleased to see the knowledge and experience of our hardworking staff recognised in the report as well as the impact this has on ensuring learners develop skills required for sectors where there are currently labour shortages. This focus on developing skills that will lead to the secure and stable employment is crucial to ultimately breaking cycles of reoffending. 

“The report is a testament to the collaborative and supportive environment within the prison, making education provision a real priority for prisoners within the establishments. This would not have been possible without the dedication of colleagues across Novus, HMPPS and our partners who have all worked together to transform the futures of people at HMP Askham Grange.”

A full copy of the HMP Askham Grange report is available here.

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