Prisoner Learning Alliance - Become a Member

Download our membership leaflet

After an external consultation with current members and the wider sector, the PLA is expanding its membership for 2018 and beyond.

We are doing this:

  • To strengthen our voice, expertise and influence
  • To build on the efforts of our initial 23 members and our significant track record of influencing change in prison education policy and practice
  • To more fully involve the views and expertise of current and former prisoners
  • To unite the voice of the sector and provide a community for all individuals and organisations with a stake in prison education

Our vision is “that all prisoners can engage in high-quality and diverse learning opportunities to help them transform their lives.

If you share this vision, we want to hear from you.

The activity of the PLA will be guided by:

  • A new, independent PLA Chair, Professor Tom Schuller, and
  • An elected steering committee of members, who will form working groups devoted to specific pieces of work.

Who can apply?

  • Organisations that share the PLA’s vision, who can become full members for a tiered annual fee starting from just £60.
  • Individuals sharing the PLA’s vision, who can become associate members at no charge.
    You might be a prison teacher, officer or other staff member, a charity worker in the sector, a researcher or anyone with a passion for prison education.
  • Individuals with personal lived experience of prison: The views and expertise of former prisoners are pivotal to the PLA and its activity. Therefore, these individuals will be granted all the benefits of full membership, at no charge.

What are the benefits of membership?

Both full and associate members can:

  • Find out about up-to-date policy changes affecting prison education
  • Learn about and share effective prison education practice
  • Have the opportunity to share news, opportunities and events through a dedicated newsletter
  • Be the first to hear about our events, including the annual PLA conference and awards
  • Meet potential collaborators and enjoy networking opportunities
  • Receive PLA reports and briefings
  • Support better learning opportunities for people in custody
  • Be part of a national and European community and movement for change
  • Be approached to serve on the PLA steering committee or particular working groups, depending on your interests and expertise


In addition, full members can:

  • Benefit from a platform for your organisation’s messages to be shared and amplified, including with policy makers
  • Influence the PLA’s work by voting to elect the members of the steering committee
  • Stand for election to the steering committee
  • Volunteer to take part in working groups related to specific interests and expertise
  • Help to shape the PLA’s key messages to policy makers, through meetings with ministers and regular collaboration with Ministry of Justice (MoJ) officials
  • Contribute to PLA reports and briefings
  • Learn about international good practice through automatic membership of the European Prison Education Association (EPEA)
  • Be recognised through inclusion of your organisation’s name and logo on the PLA website

Membership fees

Members will be charged the following fee based on organisational income:

Annual Income Annual membership fee
Associate members Free
Less than £500,000 £60
£500,000 - £1m £70
£1m - £10m £130
Over £10m £260

Further information will be included on application for membership.

Some of the PLA's key achievements to date have included:

  • Influencing the MoJ’s use of a new, broader definition of prison education
  • Successfully engaging with the MoJ to provide expertise on the changes to prison education commissioning - with bi-monthly forum meetings scheduled for 2018
  • Releasing a resource to support prison governors with the new system of education commissioning - with a foreword by former Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah MP
  • The new 'Enablers of Learning' and 'Engagement and Progression Learning' funding flexibilities in prison education budgets - following calls in the PLA's 2015 briefing for greater recognition of engagement and progression
  • Our annual PLA Awards, which received over 400 nominations from serving prisoners in 2017, with one winner recognised by the Secretary of State for Justice in his party conference speech

Since 2012 the PLA has also worked to achieve its vision by developing a Theory of Change for the impact of prison education; holding annual conferences; submitting consultation responses; giving oral evidence to parliamentary select committees; speaking to the media; meeting ministers and working with senior civil servants. This work is always underpinned by the expertise of our members and the voices of current and former learners. Click here for further details.

Apply here for membership

To access our membership application forms, click here.