Learners' Stories

Over the past 25 years Prisoners' Education Trust (PET) has helped thousands of people in prison.

We regularly receive letters from our learners and alumni about their achievements both in prison and back in their communities. People like Frank, who had been in and out of prison for more than 30 years before he found his ‘way out’ of crime through education. He is now in his final year at university. Search for their stories, experiences and views below. Some of their letters highlight the barriers that prevent people from learning in prison and through PET's work championing prison education we seek to address their concerns. 

 

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    Studying GCSEs in prison

    All | Education

    As students all over the country get their GCSE results this week, Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET) spoke to some of its prisoner learners to find out about their experiences of studying at this level in prison.

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    A prisoner describes his distance learning coordinator role

    All | Distance learning

    Al, a long sentenced prisoners, describes a role he has taken on assisting education staff as a prison Distance Learning Coordinator: “I work in the education department as an administrator for my main job, doing filing, flyers and general admin. I also help with the Careers Advice Service. I try to offer a complete service to advertise and support students moving on to further study."

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    My degree: lock downs, noise, strain and certificates

    All | Distance learning

    Ben, a prisoner who is now studying his second Open University degree in prison, strongly believes that education has had a profound impact on his life but it has been both rewarding and challenging. In a letter to Prisoners' Education Trust, he describes his experiences.

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    Michael Kinsella's return to the beautiful game

    Ex-prisoners | Sport

    As a young man, Michael Kinsella was regarded as one of England’s promising youth football prospects, but after finding himself being released by a professional club at the age 20 Michael found himself falling into a life of crime, dealing drugs and going in and out of prison. It was during a seven year sentence that Michael discovered education could help him return to the game.

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    Phil's prison courses lead to a career in charities

    All | Learner voice

    PET alumnus Phil Aldis, who now works at The Cascade Foundation, writes: “My name is Phil and I was in and out of children’s homes from the age of 8 years old. This instability was reflected in my education. I was always skipping school and could normally be found down at the amusements’ arcade causing mischief with my mates. I left school at 15 with no qualifications. After that I did a lot of menial work on building sites, factories and in kitchens up to my thirties when I was convicted of serious assault and I was told to serve 6 and a half years in prison.

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    Blog: Shakespeare Saved My Life

    All | Education

    "I met my wife whilst performing in a Shakespeare play."

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    Nathan: “Opportunities like this offer people hope.”

    All | Education

    Nathan, 42, had been in and out of prison for 13 years when he found his ‘way out’ of drugs and crime through rehabilitation programmes and education.

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    "I want to help others affected by addiction and prostitution"

    Women | Distance learning

    Prisoners’ Education Trust recently funded Robyn to study a degree Access Course, here she tells her story about why she is motivated to learn and why she needed our charity’s help. She writes: "I need to educate myself to get the qualifications to go on to do drug work or counselling for those affected by addiction and prostitution, as it’s these very people who have helped me and believed in me, showing me that life can be good."

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    Celebrating Mother’s Day

    Women | Family learning

    Last weekend (15th March 2015), 61 year old Lesley, from Guildford, spent her first Mother’s Day since leaving prison with her two grown-up children. A year ago, though separated from her son and daughter, Lesley remained positive and used her time to study with help from Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET). She also helped many other disadvantaged women to overcome their addictions and learn to read.

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    Learner describes prison's OU centre for excellence

    All | Distance learning

    Ahead of a visit by Prisoners’ Education Trust staff to Littlehey prison this week (February 2015), Brian, a member of PET’s Learner Voice panel writes about his experience of studying a degree there, which he describes as a centre for excellence.