More courses than ever in new curriculum

27 Feb 2018

People in prison now have the chance to turn their minds to Youth Justice, Human Resources and even Beginners Chinese thanks to a host of new subjects on offer in PET’s new curriculum.

Over 100 courses are advertised in PET’s largest ever course guide, many of which are new. From this month, learners will have the chance to gain industry-recognised qualifications such as CIMA Accountancy, as well as take on more unusual courses such Goat Husbandry and Latin.

Also listed are 20 Open University (OU) Level 1 Modules, offered as part of a new partnership with OU and Garfield Weston Foundation. These include ‘Science and Health: An Evidence-Based Approach’, ‘Foundations for Effective Practice in Youth Justice’ and ‘Exploring Languages and Cultures’. PET has already funded over 50 through this scheme last year, and hopes to support even more this year. 

PET Advice Manager John Lister is responsible for putting together our curriculum. Choosing what new courses to offer each year is a “mixture of supply and demand”, he says. Some - such as Digital Entrepreneurship – are new on the market, while others – such as Mental Health Care – are ones that prisoners themselves have written to ask for. 

More unorthodox courses are also worth offering, he says; particularly as PET funding is often the only way prisoners have of accessing these subjects.  

“To engage in learning people need a hook – something they are genuinely interested in,” says John. “That’s the biggest guarantee that someone will go on to study further, and that they’ll ultimately find a career they are passionate about. It’s about equipping people with the motivation, as well as the qualifications, to build a life away from crime. And if someone’s passion is rearing baby goats or grasping Mandarin – we will do our best to help them to pursue this!” 

For the first time, this year’s curriculum also contains study skills tips from former learners who have gone on to further study or careers in academia, as well as case studies from alumni such as LJ Flanders, the fitness educator and entrepreneur whose story is listed alongside the sport and fitness qualifications.

The document is one of the most important ways that PET has of communicating the courses on offer for prison learners. A few copies of the curriculum are kept by every prison, usually in the education department and library.  

The striking front cover image is by Julio Osorio – painted while in his prison cell. Julio is now a professional artist in the community. You can look at more of his work here.