Charlie Taylor: prison education 'lacks sufficient focus' on English and maths

Will Martin

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There needs to be a greater emphasis on English and maths in young offenders' education, according to the head of a government review into youth justice in England and Wales.

Charlie Taylor, the former headteacher and government adviser on behaviour in schools, was commissioned by justice secretary Michael Gove in September to report on how the youth justice system can be improved.

Speaking today at the Prisoners' Education Trust's academic symposium at London South Bank University, Mr Taylor insisted that prison education needed to focus on literacy and numeracy.

“I see lots of great vocational training being done in custody, but there needs to be a sufficient focus on the building blocks of English and maths too," he said. “It has never been more important that children have good literacy and numeracy skills. There are few jobs anymore that do not require good levels of literacy and numeracy and, however they go in, children must not leave prison unable to read."

Mr Taylor also said prisoners needed to train in subjects in which they were likely to work in once they leave prison, rather than simply being placed in the classes they enjoyed most.

"The greatest danger we must avoid in custody is limiting our childrens’ potential by not setting high enough standards," he added. "Our expectations must be as high for these children as for all others."

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Will Martin picture

Will Martin

Will is a junior reporter at TES

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