Offender Learning Newsletter Spring 2016 - My E-Style

Apr 30, 2016 - Hatfield's Governor Christopher Dyer agrees: .... General Manager at Michelin-starred Galvin at ... Galvin in the kitchen to prepare the meal.
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Offender Learning Newsletter Spring 2016 Supporting the workforce Welcome to the latest edition of the Education and Training Foundation's Offender Learning Newsletter. Practitioners in Offender Learning are committed professionals who improve the outcomes for their learners, despite working with particular challenges. The Foundation’s Society of Education and Training (SET) is committed to ensuring we support practitioners across the breadth of the education and training sector. Steph Taylor, a SET member, brings the perspectives of Offender Learning practitioners to our SET Practitioner Advisory Group. Steph, (North and South College, HMP Dovegate) says: “SET membership is valuable to me as a professional tutor and manager in the Offender Learning Sector as it enables me to keep up to date in new developments across the sector, feel part of a larger organisation and also enables me to share new ideas and practices with my tutor team. The InTuition magazine is always informative sharing news across the sector and I was pleased to have an article on the benefits of action research in offender learning published in September 2015.” SET is here to support you with your work by offering benefits including:   

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Issue 6 In this edition: 

News from the Foundation p2

Case study: day in the life of a Head of Learning and Skills p3

HMP/YOI Hatfield - A safe, decent and purposeful resettlement prison p4-6

HMP Wayland student enrolments rocket p7

HMP Eastwood Park is going for gold p8

The Clean Slate Pop-Up at HMP ISIS p9-10

 Stories of resilience p10-12 InTuition, SET’s quarterly professional journal SET’s annual Research Supplement published with the  There’s more than one way to February Intuition brings the latest evidence for practice run a prison p12 Intuition Extra the monthly SET e-newsletter, supporting members' continuing professional development (CPD) and providing the latest sector and policy news QTLS: enhance your professional status across the sector and advance your career. QTLS has legal parity with QTS in schools CPD workshops, webinars and forums-our previous webinars are ‘on demand’ so that colleagues working in the secure estate can access them when required

Visit the SET website today: Read about our new career pathway guide for those working in offender learning on p3.

Claire Mitchell, Head of New Business, Programmes and Services, Education and Training Foundation

The Education and Training Foundation - Offender Learning Newsletter

News from the Foundation Functional Skills reform programme Why is the reform taking place? Functional Skills standards and qualifications have existed since 2010/2011 and although employers and learners are generally pleased with them, a number of potential weaknesses were highlighted by the Foundation’s review ‘Making maths and English work for all’ in 2015. That report pointed to a need to improve their relevance and content, and boost their recognition and credibility in the labour market. The government wants to ensure everyone has an appropriate opportunity to improve their maths and English skills and achieve a credible qualification that employers recognise. Functional Skills standards and qualifications must, therefore, be fit-for-purpose for the next decade and more. How’s the consultation being organised? The work is a wide-ranging, multi-staged consultation using:

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Online surveys for employers and stakeholders/practitioners In-depth telephone interviews Webinars for technical/subject experts Workshops

Who should get involved? This consultation is open to contributions from a wide range of individuals and organisations, including: employers, professional and industry bodies, subject associations, employer representative bodies, unions, teaching and training practitioners, FE colleges, private training providers, offender learning organisations, adult learning organisations, subject specialists, awarding organisations and post-16 learners. When is it going to happen? The consultation started in January and lasts until July 2016. The findings report will be presented to the Government at the end of August 2016. Following a meeting in January with maths and English leads in offender learning, further participation is planned via learner focus groups and a survey for practitioners in education and training from mid-May. Via that survey there will be an opportunity to put forward your views on proposals for change for the English and maths standards and Functional Skills content. Register your interest

Free online modules from the Education and Training Foundation to develop your personal maths or English skills at Level 2 Register now on English  Grammar, punctuation and spelling  Reading critically  Evaluating writing  Writing effectively and clearly  Writing for impact  Speaking Maths  Number  Algebra  Measure  Geometry and trigonometry  Probability  Statistics 2|Pag e

The Education and Training Foundation - Offender Learning Newsletter

Case study: day in the life of a Head of Learning and Skills Ged Dickinson, Head of Learning and Skills at HMP Huntercombe (South Central Prison Officer of the Year 2014/15 for partnership work) Every day is different when you work in a prison. What you aim to do is have a full regime in operation so that people are able to attend classes and workshops. However, just like all organisations, prisons face their challenges, but with the added priority of making sure everybody is kept safe. For example, on Monday morning I arrived at work at 8 am to find that the prison was in ‘lock down’ for a number of operational reasons. This meant that the men were locked in their cells and were at risk of being kept there for the whole day – something that they don’t relish. Lock down has a detrimental effect on the regime once it becomes fully operational again as it takes the men a while to settle down. This is where our sound working relationships really helped us. I worked with the orderlies’ officer and our Head of Industries and we carried out a dynamic risk assessment to see how we might manage to get as many of the workshops up and running as possible. Then we did a ‘controlled unlock’ to make sure that as we opened up classes and workshops, nobody was put at risk. So from full lock down we managed to get a whole range of activities underway: gardening, recycling, waste management workshops and library, to name just a few. For me, partnership working is the key to making things work and ensuring that the prison is kept calm and functioning. HMP Huntercombe is a prison for foreign nationals and so working with lots of other organisations makes sure we do our best for our learners. OLASS, NCS, St Giles Trust, Koestler Trust, Shannon Trust, Migrant Help and Bail for Immigration Detainees are just some of the organisations we work with. Our job is to ensure that the men gain skills so that when they are returned to their country of origin, they have skills to create a purposeful life so they won’t return to prison which means we will have done our jobs.

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A view from a learner - John (not his real name) “Since coming to HMP Huntercombe I have achieved level 3 and 4 in information, advice and guidance and now work as a teaching assistant in the prison and coordinate the orderlies. I can’t praise the staff here enough and I know without them I wouldn’t have achieved what I have. They are all so positive, in fact genius! I now encourage others to attend the excellent courses here in the prison: tiling, bricklaying, painting and decorating. Lots of the men have set up their own businesses once they’ve left Huntercombe. I try to inspire the men the way that I have been inspired. Inspiration is extinguished very easily in prison, but in this establishment it works!”

Ged (on the left) receiving his award from Prisons Minister Rt Hon Jeremy Wright (on the right)

Offender learning: a career of choice Ged’s case study also features in the Foundation’s new guide designed to introduce people to the opportunities for teaching or training within the secure estate. The guide includes an introduction to working in offender learning, the requirements for teaching within prisons, teaching and training career pathways and information about appropriate qualifications. We expect to update this guide regularly but wanted you to know that it is already an excellent career choice and a really attractive teaching option. The guide is available to download from the Working in the Sector section of our Offender Learning Exhibition site: 3|Page

The Education and Training Foundation - Offender Learning Newsletter

HMP/YOI Hatfield – A safe, decent and purposeful resettlement prison Grade 1 – Ofsted Outstanding

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Michael Spurr, Chief Executive of the National Offender Management Service, said: “The Governor and his staff deserve huge credit for their crucial role in rehabilitating offenders, including providing high quality education, training and employment opportunities. Staff will now use this report to build on the successes and achieve further improvement."

“HMP/YOI Hatfield had come through change and uncertainty and was now confidently establishing its priorities and showing significant improvement”, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons. HMP/YOI Hatfield had in recent years been part of the South Yorkshire cluster of prisons and managed collaboratively alongside HMP Moorland and Lindholme. At the conclusion of a failed market test in late 2013, the prison was retained in the public sector and since April 2014 has been re-established as a separate institution. The prison can hold 390 category D adult male prisoners and is on two sites – the original Hatfield site and a new addition referred to as the Lakes’ Unit. In December 2015, Hatfield achieved inspectors’ highest assessment across all four tests of a healthy prison – safety, respect, purposeful activity and resettlement. At Hatfield Ofsted Inspectors found:  All prisoners were purposely occupied. Excellent partnership working from managers from the prison, college and National Careers Service had substantially contributed to a well-planned curriculum that meets the needs of learners.  Excellent partnerships with a wide range of small and regional sized employers had been successful in providing good quality training and employment for many prisoners.  Teachers and managers had high expectations of prisoners in their care and relationships were positive. This substantially contributed to an excellent learning environment in which prisoners thrived and achieved because they felt supported.  The standard of individual coaching and motivational support to prepare prisoners for education and employment were outstanding. As a consequence, prisoners experience of learning, skills and work was among the best we had seen.  The College provided a particularly good range of provision that was carefully matched to the needs of a settlement prison.  There had been really good work to develop the Lakes Unit as an effective reception/induction facility and nearly all prisoners said they felt safe on their first night.

Avtar Purewal (Regional Head of Learning & Skills) said, “Another fantastic recognition of provision in a Yorkshire & Humberside prison, Hatfield’s well deserved overall prison grade of Outstanding joins the other two sites graded Outstanding by OFSTED, New Hall and Askham Grange. This achievement means that the majority of sites in our region are graded Outstanding/Good, with no provision graded Inadequate. “It is always with a sense of pride that we celebrate inspection successes in our region, and doubly so as this achievement included the first ever graded Outstanding for the provision of ‘in custody’ National Careers Service advice. “At the heart of our success is good governance, strong contract and partnership management, high ambitious expectations of the provision we manage and the work we do to support and develop learners in our care. Again and again now inspectors are telling us we have: fit for purpose curriculums linked to local employment opportunities, backed up by comprehensive needs analysis and the learner voice.” They have also commented that we have a strong understanding of the data and its use in raising standards and tackling areas that require improvement. And strong quality assurance processes including our ‘Prison Health Checks’ 4|Page

The Education and Training Foundation - Offender Learning Newsletter

and ‘Pre Inspection Readiness Reviews’, as well as a programme to develop and support delivery staff and managers. Particular praise has been on our focus on tackling low literacy and numeracy, delivering high standard targeted career advice and raising career aspirations, employability support as well as self-employment and business venture training. There is more that we can and will do, but it is appropriate that we pause and recognise the professionalism and pride taken by career advice, teaching and training staff as well as the learners at Hatfield and in other sites in Yorkshire & Humberside”. Mark Grasby (Regional Director, Novus) added, “This is another truly exceptional achievement for HMP Hatfield and the region. I am incredibly proud to be able to talk about another ‘outstanding’ graded establishment in this region. This comes shortly after HMP/YOI Newhall became the first ‘closed’ establishment to achieve outstanding from OFSTED. We very much look forward to continuing to work in these establishments, whilst ensuring the learning and good practice is shared across the wider estate. The ultimate reward is better outcomes for learners, an increase in employment and training on release, and in turn a significant reduction in reoffending effecting the lives of many in our communities.”

Prospects employee awarded commendation for her work Sharon Beardon, a National Careers Service adviser working at Her Majesty’s Prison /Young Offenders Institution (HMP/YOI) Hatfield in Doncaster has been commended for the outstanding dedication and passion she brings to her work by the Butler Trust. The Trust recognises, celebrates, develops and shares good practice by people working in prisons, probation, and community and youth justice, across the UK. Sharon is employed by Prospects who deliver the National Careers Service in Custody service in 36 prisons across the country. At HMP/YOI Hatfield Sharon, who works as part of the Careers Yorkshire and the Humber consortium, was nominated by Liz Whitaker, the Learning Skills and Employment Manager, at Hatfield.

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In her nomination Liz wrote that Sharon is “an exceptional individual who makes a remarkable difference to improving prisoner lives through her dedication and passion to transform lives. She is highly thought of by both prisoners and staff.” Working above and beyond to help the prisoners she supports Sharon receives a large number of thank you letters from ex-offenders. Henry* wrote: “Sharon has been amazing, fighting my corner relentlessly working hard in securing funding… I can’t thank her enough for what she has done for me. Without her devotion the employment I have now secured would not have happened.” Alan* commented: “She supported me though some bad times, kept my spirits up and made sure that I got the training I needed for the job that she has helped me to retain.” Dave* noted: “My family and myself would like to thank Sharon for all the hard work she has done for me over the past 17 months, she has been amazing to be able to secure me employment after serving 15 years in prison.” In the last year Sharon has supported 44 people into work, a further 24 will go into work on release, 68 have accessed courses, and 54 gained CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) cards and 36 forklift licences. Sharon achieves much of this through her commitment to partnership work and providing a first class service. Sharon is the driving force behind getting Virtual Campus, the internet platform used within prisons, set up in Hatfield, enabling prisoners to create CVs on Virtual Campus which she submits to CV builder acting as a broker for employment opportunities. This work has allowed prisoners to apply for jobs, be selected for interview and even secure paid employment. Sharon has forged links with organisations to secure funding, allowing prisoners to access courses that would be closed to them otherwise, including the Hardman Trust, Salvation Army and British Legion. In addition, Sharon has excellent labour market knowledge allowing her to provide accurate and realistic advice about employment prospects on release. Sharon was instrumental in arranging a training open day with external providers and secured free CSCS qualifications and fostered a relationship with Intertrain (the largest railway training provider) that gave 15 prisoners training worth £800 each and guaranteed job interviews on release. 5|Page

The Education and Training Foundation - Offender Learning Newsletter

Sharon’s manager, Mel Wheeler comments: “I am extremely proud of Sharon in receiving this award. Sharon’s passion and dedication to help the customers that she is working with is effortless for her; and she exceeds all expectations as a National Careers Service adviser, always going the extra mile to help others to achieve their potential. I am so happy that she has been rewarded for this. Maybe now she will accept how “outstanding” she really is!” Liz echoes Mel’s comments “Sharon is unique in what she does. She would describe this as ‘just doing her job’ but what she gives goes beyond expectation and changes prisoners lives for the better.” One example included Sharon arranging for a mechanical digger to be brought in to support a group of prisoners in gaining qualifications. She attended these sessions in her own time saying: “I don’t want there to be a problem, the lads have worked so hard for this.” Administration Officer Yvonne Wise works closely with Sharon and says she is: “often swept up in the whirlwind that is Sharon’s passion to help others. Her determination can be both frustrating and enthralling at the same time. She goes above and beyond and is altruistic in her work with both staff and prisoners alike.” Yvonne describes how a prisoner recently expressed his concern about a rumour that Sharon was moving to pastures new. Clearly worried he asked: “what will the prisoners do without her? She helps us so much, we really do appreciate what she does.” Hatfield’s Governor Christopher Dyer agrees: “Sharon brings to the establishment a special blend of commitment enthusiasm and resilience, which I am extremely pleased to have in my reducing re-offending team. At HMP&YOI Hatfield we work with up to 338 prisoners including young offenders providing a regime that helps equip them for life outside of prison through tasks, qualifications, resettlement and accredited offending behaviour programmes. We nominated Sharon for a Butler Trust Award for the excellent work she undertakes supporting prisoners to find the right work and training both in prison and in the community when they leave prison. We are thrilled she has been awarded a Commendation; she is now one of a select group of people to be recognised for their excellent work in prisons.” Sarah Collinson, Chair of Careers Yorkshire and the Humber agrees: “We are delighted that Sharon has received this prestigious recognition

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for the dedication she has shown in supporting the men in HMP&YOI Hatfield.” The Butler Trust’s Director, Simon Shepherd, praised all of the award winners: “Once again, our Award Winners and Commendees have shown outstanding dedication, skill and creativity in their work and we are delighted to be able to give them some much-deserved wider recognition. It is extremely encouraging to note that, even in challenging times, the prison, community and youth justice services remain full of people who strive to make a difference to the people in their care – and in Sharon’s case, the dedication and passion she brings to her work really shone through, particularly her efforts to find sustainable employment, education and training opportunities for her learners. Many congratulations to Sharon and we look forward to seeing her - and all of our Winners - at St James’s Palace in March where they will receive their Awards and Commendations from our Patron, HRH The Princess Royal.” Sharon will now build on her success working with the Butler Trust as she joins their development programme attending workshop sessions and working towards qualifications recognising good practice. But at the moment Sharon is just taking in her reality of her win: “I feel very proud of my achievement. I have worked in prisons for more than 20 years and this award has given me a chance to take a step back and reflect on what I have achieved for the lads and the difference this has made to them. I am so proud that I have been able to change so many lives because I didn’t give up on them.” Ofsted recently graded Sharon’s National Careers Service provision as outstanding. She supports hundreds of people each year and her success in finding so many – more than half – sustainable employment, education, and training options, is a remarkable testament to the impact of her work.

To find out more about Prospects work in prisons and the National Careers Service visit * Names of ex-prisoners have been changed to protect their identity. 6|Page

The Education and Training Foundation - Offender Learning Newsletter

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HMP Wayland student enrolments rocket The PeoplePlus Wayout TV was launched in HMP Wayland on 1st September 2014 as the UK's first in-cell, learning channel. The concept was inspired by prisoners as a response to requests for more learning opportunities away from the classroom during evenings, weekends and regime lockdowns. The project’s original remit was to acquire programming and content that would complement Wayland’s existing curriculum and use the adbreaks between the programmes to signpost the relevant courses on offer. Content deals were signed with a number of US and UK programme makers and broadcasters. Bespoke internet video portals also contributed their programming and streams to the channel. Before long Wayout TV, found itself with a compelling schedule of programmes that would make some mainstream digital channels proud. Offenders quickly adopted the channel as their own and staff and students started contributing to the output. Tutors not only recorded promotional material for their courses – which saw their course waiting lists increase – but also successfully chanced their arm at presenting short bite-sized shows. This had the effect of introducing the offender to the tutor, reassuring offenders that the learning will be both relevant to their life chances and giving them a head start in to acquiring knowledge and confidence before joining a course. Three months after the launch a cell-drop survey was conducted. The response was very encouraging as it showed that 76% of offenders were watching for over 5 hours a week. Since September 2015 the Wayland PeoplePlus team has been working on a second learning channel, Way2Learn. This is a true VLE and offers on-screen courses for offenders to complete in-cell. It follows the old Open University model: watch the show, complete the paperbased workbooks that are provided at the start of the course and see your tutor every week for a tutorial. This is especially important for those prisoners who, for whatever reason, cannot attend Education.

In addition to this, the prison has its own bespoke crawler at the bottom of the screen, enabling it to give up-to-the-minute regime information to prisoners and HMPS senior management and staff are able to film their messages to be broadcast directly to the prisoners in their care. The beauty is that none of this relies on expensive digital technologies, interactive keyboards or cell refits; it’s accessible now. The benefits of this in-cell television service have been staggering. At HMP Wayland student enrolments have rocketed from a 61% allocation to education to 97%. Governors are able to keep the prisoner population well informed and prisoners can access educational content during the long evenings and at weekends. Other prisons in the region are requesting that the service is rolled out to their establishments. HMP and YOI Norwich will be the first recipient.

Jezz Wright, PeoplePlus Channel Manager, considering a new script in the WayOut TV studio


The Education and Training Foundation - Offender Learning Newsletter

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HMP Eastwood Park is going for gold

Women’s speech bubble quotes:

In 2014 HMP Eastwood Park achieved a Bronze award by the Reading Agency for 50 women completing the 6 book challenge. Women were able to choose what they wanted to read and complete a reading diary.

“Thoroughly enjoyable challenge, made reading feel like a real achievement.”

In 2015 it was decided that to encourage more reading that we would go for Gold which meant 150 women completing the challenge. Incentives for reading the 6 books and completing the reading diary were a bag (with 6 book challenge on it), a pen and a bag of Malteasers! The bags that the women won then in turn promoted the scheme to others in all areas of the prison. Our ‘Turning Pages’ mentors also encouraged their mentees to take part in the scheme. Our Library staff created a fantastic display of posters in advance of the start of the scheme with a ‘coming soon’ splashed across it. This was followed up by ‘it’s here’ in January. All women in the prison have the opportunity to visit the library so the displays were seen by them all. Another large board outside the library was created with a Roll of Honour title and as each woman completed her 6 books and diary her name was added to the roll. The women took great pride in seeing their name on the list and enjoyed showing staff and other women that their name was on there. It didn’t take too long for the board to be full. The women were encouraged to share their thoughts on their reading and these were shown in speech bubbles on the notice board.

“It got me wanting to read, I had forgotten how much I enjoy reading, I would totally do it again.”

“I really enjoyed reading books I never thought I would read, and reading every night to finish the challenge.” “Setting yourself time limits and the excitement of a challenge. Also being part of a group.” “Reading new books that in the past I wouldn’t have looked at. Plus, it’s made me want to carry on reading.” “Before I came to EWP, I never read a whole book. I suffer from dyslexia and would lose enthusiasm quickly. This is the 2nd year I have done the 6 book challenge and I’m glad. I feel that I have been challenged to push my comfort zone out. I would do it again.” “I liked that it gave me the incentive to pick up a book again. I had forgotten the pleasure I get from reading and how quick the time goes by.” “I loved the challenge. I wish there is another one soon, I have only read children’s books as it’s difficult for me, but they were great.”

By the end of the scheme over 150 women successfully completed the challenge and the notice board announced that ‘Eastwood Park Gets Gold’. Out of 110 prisons that entered the scheme only 12 got gold. The roll of honour was covered in gold stars with ‘well done’ to everyone who took part. The award is proudly displayed in the Library. 2016 sees the start of Reading Ahead; already at the end of January we had 84 women signed up and 10 completers. We have an added incentive for the best diary this year of a signed copy of Martina Cole’s new book ‘Get Even’. Women are talking about this and the best thing is that they are reading. We are hoping the women get a gold award this year.

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The Education and Training Foundation - Offender Learning Newsletter

The Clean Slate PopUp at HMP ISIS On 10 December 2015 Fred Sirieix opened a pop-up restaurant at HM Prison Isis in South East London. HM Prison Isis is a category C prison for male young offenders up to age 30. The special pop-up at the staff canteen at HM Prison Isis was the official launch of new initiative ‘The Right Course’. Further pop ups are planned for 2016 at Isis with the ambition to spread the scheme into other prisons in the UK. Fred Sirieix, who is best known as the Maitre D’ on Channel Four’s First Dates, and as the General Manager at Michelin-starred Galvin at Windows, said: “It is hoped and planned that this pop-up will be the start of a wider national charitable initiative to teach prisoners about service and cooking within prisons, so that they can join our industry upon release and become true experts and role models. The aim is to educate and teach the offenders the necessary professional foundations, key life skills and personal values that will allow them to secure a job and return home to lead a productive and law abiding life as well as contribute to a thriving and professional industry, where it is evident that there is a staff and skills shortage”.

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factors that can help offenders turn their lives around on release, so for us to be supported with initiatives from employers to employ people as they are released from prison is fantastic. Many of them have excellent skills and have the capacity to be productive employees, and we are all grateful for the support that Fred and Chris are providing”.

Members of the public were able to buy tickets to ‘The Right Course’, and in total 40 people were served. These included: Chef José Pizarro, Prison’s Minister Andrew Selous, President of Europe, Middle East and Africa for Hilton Worldwide Simon Vincent, founding trustee of the DM Thomas Foundation for Young People Dame Maureen Thomas, and Director of the foundation Simon Sheehan. The menu was a delicious French bistro three course meal, in keeping with the Galvin Restaurants, and was created using high quality ingredients, which were donated by Aubury Allen, Boulangerie de Paris, Buchannan’s cheesemonger, Daily Fish, Direct Milk, Fine France, Harvey and Brockless, John mower, Mash Purveyors, Severn and Wye, True Foods and Wild harvest. Guests enjoyed exquisite plates including a Galvin-cured smoked salmon, buckwheat blini, fromage blanc, dill oil and caviar, followed by a main of slow cooked ox cheek “Grand Mere”, pomme purée and haricot vert.

A total of 20 offenders were selected to take part in the pop-up, 10 working front of house and the other 10 in the kitchen with Michelin-starred chef Chris Galvin. Fred presented his philosophy of service to the offenders, and then they were taught the basics of front of house service through role play, and the chef team joined Chris Galvin in the kitchen to prepare the meal. Grahame Hawkings, Governor of HMP/YOI Isis, said, “We know that finding a job is one of the key 9|Page

The Education and Training Foundation - Offender Learning Newsletter

The offenders found the day a fantastic experience, learning many useful and transferable skills, and many hope to pursue a career in hospitality on completing their prison terms. One of the offenders who took part in the training said: “My family would be truly proud of me…I’m lost for words, I had no idea how much I would learn and enjoy.” Another who also took part said “I must thank everybody involved with giving me this opportunity.” ‘The Right Course’ will return on 26 April 2016 with José Pizarro taking charge of the menu and training of the chefs. The aim is for ‘The Right Course’ to become a regular training course at HMP/YOI Isis.

Stories of resilience RaPAL (Research and Practice in Adult Literacies) is collecting learner stories for a copublication with ACAL (the Australian Council for Adult Literacy) in 2016: find out more here Please do think about encouraging your learners to write about their journeys and how adult literacies learning has helped them improve their quality of life: deadline 30th April 2016. 1

Two learners in secure estate preview their stories:

JL’s inspirational story, from HMP Leyhill

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I started my education at 44 years old in prison. I took this path as I thought there is more to life than crime, and I want to be at home to support my sons with their homework. I want to improve my English and maths for everyday life. I want to be able to read and understand everyday forms, like application forms. I want to be able to read and understand rules, so that it will bring my anxiety down. It will give me a better quality of life. I have lots of challenges in regards to education. If I could identify my biggest obstacle it would be smells. Certain smells trigger certain memories, so it can make me feel very anxious. They changed the cleaning materials used in education which reminded me of a hospital, so that made me very anxious. Smells have a very big effect on how I feel. There aren’t any wheels, or anything with circular movement in education, so that isn’t very good. It was difficult to meet new teachers and hard to accept that a favourite teacher, Debbie, had left. It is a busy department and that made me feel very anxious. I had to force myself to come through the door. Underlying all of this is the ultimate fear of failure. If it wasn’t for my teacher, Chloe, and the Weston College curriculum manager, Dan, I would have not entered the education building. They understand me, they have encouraged me to keep going when I have wanted to give up. They have changed the teaching, so that I can receive 1 to 1 support and teaching. They made learning enjoyable for the first time ever! I have completed an Entry 3 Functional Skills qualification in English. This consists of three components; reading, writing and speaking & listening. This is two grades higher than what the psychiatrists initially said I was capable of achieving. I am also studying maths at Level 1.

“My name is J and I have Asperger’s. I am a family man and I am happiest when I am at home. I have two boys aged 8 and 9 years old. I have had no formal education. When I was at primary school I used to continually press the fire alarms as I liked the fire engines coming to the school. I was asked to leave at twelve years old. I therefore have no formal education or certifications. When I was clinically diagnosed with Autism the psychiatrist stated that I would never achieve any qualifications; I would never progress above an Entry 1 qualification. 1

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The Education and Training Foundation - Offender Learning Newsletter

I currently work in reception. My duties include, escorting people to their rooms with their belongings, filling out property cards, logging down valuables, box numbers and prisoner numbers. I wouldn’t have been able to do these tasks before I started education. I wouldn’t have been able to fill in the forms correctly before I learnt this in English. Education also gave me the confidence to talk to new people, as we practiced this in education as part of the speaking and listening exam. I have visited the library for the first time ever, I would have never achieved the confidence to walk through the library doors. I now enjoy reading, I can get knowledge and it helps your brain. Before I never really understood why people read. I also write letters home, something I have never done before. My progression has since resulted in my psychiatrist re-assessing me and re diagnosing me with high functioning Asperger’s. I was initially diagnosed with low functioning Asperger’s. It is going to help me help my sons, in particular Jack. I have now changed my view on schools and understand that it is a good thing for Jack to get a good education. I can now help Jack with his homework and feel confident to go into his school. I will also go into Jimmy’s school and support him with his educational journey. I won’t be so anxious when I have to fill in a form at the doctor or bank. I now have these skills, so I won’t feel so anxious. I would say to others who are reluctant to engage in education to come and see Chloe and Dan. It isn’t as scary as you think! Education can open up a lot of avenues and make you feel more confident. You should always try it and see how it goes. For people like me, first impressions are crucial, the first meeting has to go well. From then things can go better.”

My adult learner journey, from St Andrew’s Birmingham “My name is D and I am currently in a secure care service. From childhood, for various reasons I missed out on a stable education and so as an adult I have a lot to catch up on. I chose to study whilst in secure healthcare because I was offered the opportunity to study 1:1. I took this up immediately as I have always struggled in groups. As a child I could not concentrate but could not always get the support. I was distracted, I moved

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house and children’s homes many times, which was unsettling and I could therefore never concentrate as I felt lost and confused. As an adult I am willing to learn and try very hard to stay focused but I still find groups difficult for many reasons. My own achievements in very small steps inspired me to keep going. I used to see people reading the daily paper or playing scrabble on the ward. I would discuss this with my teacher and was encouraged to keep trying and build up my belief in myself. I practise reading aloud in my 1:1 sessions and I have learnt how to sound out unknown words by breaking them down in to chunks. I have also learnt how to use clues on the page such as headings, diagrams, labels so I can guess what the words may be from these clues. I am very proud to say that through the Open College Network I have gained certificates in English. I worked hard and built up a portfolio of my work, which was checked by an assessor. I have so far gained Entry 2: Grammar and punctuation; Reading; and Writing. I am working on further units at the same level and also one at Entry 3. The options that I currently have for learning are education sessions, access to the library on site, IT, and horticulture. The limits are mainly that I can only have 1:1 education one hour per week but if I were in school or college I would have whole days. I overcame my difficulties as I matured as an adult and saw that I really wanted to learn. Encouraged by others and by my own selfmotivation I feel more positive. I like choosing what I want to study as I like certain things such as looking at world maps and talking about countries, cooking, looking at recipes and studying the words in the recipes. More recently I have found out that I really enjoy working at the allotment. It is very good for me, and in my education sessions I read and write about it for my portfolio work. My message to others who wish they had more confidence as adult learners is that if I can do it you can do it. By the way, I am now the one in the lounge playing scrabble on the ward thanks to people believing in me and most importantly thanks to believing in myself. Thanks for reading this.” 11 | P a g e

The Education and Training Foundation - Offender Learning Newsletter

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Free Members’ Access RaPAL is delighted to offer readers of the Offender Learning Newsletter free access to our Members Area, and our most recent digital journal edition, Commemorating 30 Years of RaPAL (Volume 87, Winter 2015) here Password: RaPAL30 Please contact [email protected] with any issues. Also please note that the password will change in a couple of months when the next edition comes out and nonmembers will no longer be able to access the link at that point, so please download an offline version of the Yudu publication site if you are keen to keep a copy. You are welcome to disseminate this edition around your networks, and we would request you encourage colleagues to consider contributing to RaPAL!

There’s more than one way to run a prison “Imagine a situation where an education correspondent for a newspaper was not allowed into schools, or a writer on health banned from hospitals? That is how it’s been for a long time for journalists writing about the prison system. Yet a wind of change is blowing through the Ministry of Justice and jails are opening up to us. How the MoJ treats prisoners when they are incarcerated will have a marked effect on how they treat us when they are released, so access matters. So it was that I arrived at Thameside prison, south London, armed with pen and paper.” Eric Allison, prison correspondent for The Guardian, courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd. Read more

News and Events Visit our Offender Learning Exhibition Site for the latest news and events. Please get in touch if you have any effective practice or news to share.

To join our mailing list and/or submit an article email: [email protected] Deadline for copy for next newsletter: 18 May 2016 The Education and Training Foundation 157-197 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9SP T: 020 3740 8280 E: [email protected] W: Twitter: @e-t-foundation Printed by the Large Print and Reprographic Workshop at HMP Holme House 12 | P a g e