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Prisoners’ Education Trust appoints five new trustees

Prisoners’ Education Trust has appointed five new trustees, including a charity campaigner, a former Ministry of Justice senior official, and the 2019 FE Leader of the Year.

Emily Giles is a charity campaigner, currently leading the policy and communications team at Adfam UK, raising awareness and improving support for families affected by substance use. She has previously worked as the Voluntary Sector Coordinator at HMP Wandsworth, and as the policy lead for public services and criminal justice at the CBI (Confederation of British Industry). She is also currently researching the impact of austerity on reoffending for her Cambridge MSt in Criminology and Penology.

James Killen is a doctoral researcher in mental health and human rights issues and holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law. Previously he served in the armed forces, has deployed on operations in a mental health support role, and has experience of working with literacy mentors and adult learners.

Vicki Morris is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Justice Innovation, a not-for-profit organisation that champions innovative practice and reform across both criminal and family justice. Prior to this role, Vicki managed the education provision at Wetherby Young Offender Institution. She also gained experience of education service delivery in adult custodial settings through her secondment to HMP Newhall, a closed women’s prison in Wakefield.

Dr Paul Phillips CBE is Principal & Chief Executive of the Weston College Group situated in North Somerset. It regularly features at the top of the league tables for FE and holds the South West and South East contracts for Offender Learning. In July, he was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to Further and Higher Education and was named the 2019 FE Leader of the Year.

Richard Ward OBE retired from the Civil Service in 2019 having spent the last 14 years working on prison education policy. He was involved heavily in the 2011 John Hayes/Crispin Blunt review of prison education and a member of Dame Sally Coates’ team during her 2016 review. His policy responsibilities also included learning difficulty and disability, and disadvantaged learners in general. Richard is also a school governor and part-time Chief Executive of a small Bedfordshire-based charity.

Rod Clark, PET chief executive, said:

“I am delighted that PET is being joined by a group of new trustees who bring such an excellent knowledge of the prison and education systems as well as a range of talents and expertise. They have a hard act to follow replacing such skilled and dedicated predecessors whom we will much miss. I have every confidence that they will be able to bring new energy and direction to PET’s work through a refreshed Board membership, in line with the guidelines of best practice charity governance.”

Elisabeth Davies, who was appointed as PET’s chair in December 2018, said:

“If we’re serious about putting the prison learner at the centre of all that we do then we realise this needs to include our governance and our Board. In addition to ensuring our current Board includes those with lived experience we also have responsibility for helping people develop their skills in the future. We’ve established our new Trustee development programme for candidates with lived experience who we feel deserve more investment in time and support and who we feel have the potential to be a Trustee. This year will be a pilot year with just 1 to 2 candidates but it’s a start and as we learn we will build on this.”

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