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NATFHE Calls For Changes In Prisoner Education

Representing prison education lecturers working in adult prisons and Youth Offender Institutions, the National University and College Lecturers” Union (NATFHE) led the push for reform on October 20th. Prison educators told the Education Skill Select Committee that conditions for education in prisons in England and Wales are still not suitable to enable educators to provide quality education.

Key points related to the Select Committee include poor prison management practices and unsatisfactory pay and conditions for education staff. These points were made as a culmination of a ten year study on both negative and positive developments in prison education.

In his verbal submission to the Select Committee, Dan Taubman, NATFHE’s national officer for Further Education made several points relaying the obstacles prisoners face in receiving a good prison education. “Crowding and under-resourcing are still limiting progress and staff shortages mean as many as half of students don”t arrive at their class,” said Taubman.

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Other points discussed included poor prison educator pay, the inability to attract and retain the best staff, as well as the lack of support for educators. In his concluding remarks, Taubman said, “Prisoners have often been failed by the education system. Many are illiterate. Providing quality education requires the best possible tutors and learning experience. We can”t afford anymore mistakes in prison educations.”

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