Young People's Project

In 2015 Prisoners' Education Trust secured funding for three years from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to enable us to expand the focus of our policy work on the learning needs of young people and young adults in custody. Following an academic symposium on the subject, we published a report with ten recommendations. We have pursued those recommendations through our public affairs work, as well as a number of activities. Those included setting up a prison university partnership, expanding our distance learning offer to under 18s and establishing a young people’s estate category to our Prisoner Learning Alliance Awards. For more information, please see below.

HMP&YOI Isis and Goldsmiths, University of London: Evaluating a Learning Together Project

An important part of PET's work in this area has been to support the establishment and evaluation of a pilot prison-university partnership between HMP&YOI Isis (a predominantly young adult establishment) and the Open Book project at Goldsmiths, University of London. The partnership followed the Learning Together model, where university and prison learners studied together on a regular basis in the prison. The course subject was social research methods and included the use of former prisoner academics as guest lecturers. The partnership was evaluated by Dr Anita Mehay of the University of East London. Since the pilot programme, three further courses have been run in Philosophy, Creative Writing and Anthropology. Read the full evaluation below:

Read the report

For more information on PET's work supporting prison-university partnerships, see our network page for PUPiL (Prison University Partnerships in Learning).

Great Expectations

Our Great Expectations report, published in 2016, focused on the educational opportunities for young people in custody.

Read the report

The report makes ten recommendations, starting from the premise that custody should be a last resort and that further reductions to both young people and young adults in custody need to be a clear policy goal. However once in custody, despite some reported improvements in resettlement support and hours spent in education for young people, much more could still be done to develop a culture of learning and aspiration. Time and again, the importance of relationships, effective engagement and transitions came up. 

For questions or more information please do contact Nina Champion, Head of Policy.