Prison education reform plans revealed

Coates review of prison education was published today

Julia Belgutay

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The government has accepted all recommendations by Dame Sally Coates in her review of prison education, published today. These include giving governors complete control of their education budgets and freedom to tailor a curriculum to suit their prisoners.

Dame Sally also suggests a Teach First-style scheme to attract high-calibre graduates to work in prisons for a two-year period to improve the quality of teaching.

She also recommends creating tailored Personal Learning Plans for each prisoner on their arrival in prison, giving governors greater discretion over prisoner access to ICT and digital technology to facilitate learning, as well as the introduction of a new, stand-alone Ofsted judgement on the standard of prison education. Dame Sally said if education was the engine of social mobility, it was also the engineer of prisoner rehabilitation.

Justice secretary Michael Gove said Dame Sally’s review made a “compelling case for change”. “The current standard of education in prisons is not good enough. Quality is patchy, prisoners are not being given the skills and knowledge they need to find jobs and governors are hampered by an overly bureaucratic system." All recommendations had been accepted in principle and implementation plans would now be drawn up, the government said.

Dame Sally’s review was welcomed by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF). The ETF’s director for leadership, Olivia Dorricott, who was a member of the Coates Review said: “The further education and training sector prides itself on providing second chances, and giving people new skills so that they can thrive in society. 

"We look forward to building on the work the ETF already does so that more professionals - teachers and leaders - are supported and effective practice shared, to benefit prisoners.”  

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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

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