Pilot offers new learning approach for offenders Friday, August 3, 2012 - 09:30
Prisoners will receive a boost to their chances of finding work after their release, with the introduction of intensive maths and English classes, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has announced.
The pilot - a joint initiative between BIS and NIACE - will be carried out in six prisons in the North West. It will be based on the successful approach used in the Armed Forces, by making literacy and numeracy relevant to the learners' day-to-day lives and by offering up to 35 hours of lessons in a one week block, with additional training for those who need it.
Sue Southwood, NIACE Programme Manager, said:
"Prison is a place of rehabilitation, where people can reflect on their past behaviour and have the chance to turn their lives around. Around 1 in 6 people struggle with everyday literacy and approximately 1 in 4 people struggle with basic maths. In prison the number of people who struggle with some or many aspects of literacy and / or numeracy can be as high as 70%. Developing these skills can improve confidence and is critical to undertake vocational training, get a job and prevent re-offending. It also makes a real difference to families as low skills are passed down from parents to children."
"All prisons offer classes for adults with low skills in maths and English, but this pilot offers a new approach to learning. We hope that offering more intensive periods of learning over a short time will lead to greater gains - an approach that has been shown to work in the Armed Forces."
"We need to continually look at how we improve the skills of adults and the methods we use to teach those who have not succeeded in the past. We have seen that a more intensive model of contextualised learning in the Armed Forces has led to significant improvements and so we are trialing this approach with offenders to see if it has the same success."