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Damning new report shows prison-education needs complete revamp


Yet another damning report shows the depth of the crisis in prison education caused by ongoing underinvestment and a lack of appreciation for the value of the work prison educators do, the University and College Union (UCU) said today (Tuesday).

The new Ofsted report finds that prisons’ progress on improving reading education has been too slow across the board.

Again and again, the report highlights the massive problems posed by staff shortages, which it says ‘still limit the quality of reading education in most prisons.’ In 15 of the prisons inspected by Ofsted, the report points out, ‘a shortage of qualified English teachers made it difficult to provide reading lessons.’

UCU said these are disastrous policy failures, inextricable from the UK government’s failure to grasp the opportunity for a joined-up education strategy focused on the transformative impact for both individuals and wider society of second and third chance learning opportunities.

UCU head of further education Paul Bridge said:

‘This report shows yet again the deep social damage being done by the UK government’s refusal to invest seriously in prison education and properly value the work of our members. Prison educators and prisoners are being let down, but so is the whole of society.

‘There is simply no excuse for the government’s failure to implement a joined-up education strategy which enables individuals and society more widely to benefit from the transformative effects of second and third chance learning.

‘Our prison educators do invaluable work, and they deserve to be paid fairly. We urgently need an end to for-profit provision, the introduction of a national contract, and some professional respect for our members. Otherwise the recruitment and retention crisis will continue, to the detriment of us all.’

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