PLA says Ofsted’s findings on prisons must act as a “wake-up call” to Government

11 Dec 2013

The Prisoner Learning Alliance (PLA) says today’s announcement in Ofsted’s Annual report that prisons have the worst standards across the whole Further Education (FE) and skills sector must be a wake-up call to the Government to prioritise education for the rehabilitation of prisoners. Earlier this week the PLA launched their first report ‘Smart Rehabilitation’.

Alexandra Marks, Chair of the PLA, said:

“We believe that Ofsted's announcement today about the poor training and education in prisons, and failure to support ex-prisoners into employment, should act as a wake-up call to the Government. It is now time to prioritise education and training in prison. Ofsted's report comes two months after the Chief Inspector of Prisons’ damning verdict on the quality and quantity of purposeful activity in prisons, the worst for six years.

"The PLA recommend a smarter approach to rehabilitation which sees prisons putting education at the heart of their culture. We agree with Ofsted that accountability for the quality of learning provision is weak and must be addressed urgently."

"There must be greater leadership by prison governors and senior staff to prioritise learning."

“Different Government departments must work together towards the shared objective of turning people away from crime. One of the most effective ways of doing so is to offer prisoners the opportunity to develop the attitudes, skills and knowledge to help them break the cycle of reoffending, and contribute positively to their families and communities after release. Only then can we hope to reduce the huge cost of reoffending to taxpayers, victims and society.”

The PLA’s new report, Smart Rehabilitation: Learning how to get better outcomes outlines the benefits of prisoners' access to a broad range of learning, training and skills activities. The report was launched in Parliament on 9 December 2013 with endorsement from Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons who supports its findings and recommendations.

Editor’s Notes

For interviews, photos or further information please contact Susannah Henty, Media Manager:; 020 8648 7760 or visit

Today’s report is available from Ofsted

The Prisoner Learning Alliance’s first report Smart Rehabilitation: Learning how to get better outcomes was published 9.12.2013.

Case studies and interviews with former prisoners whose lives have been transformed by education are available on request.

About PET

Since 1989, Prisoners' Education Trust (PET) has supported prisoners to engage in rehabilitation through learning. The charity does this by providing advice and funding for approximately 2,000 people per year for distance learning courses in subjects and levels not generally available in prisons. PET also carries out research, informed by prisoner learners, to improve prison education policies.

In 2012 PET launched the Prisoner Learning Alliance to work together with 18 other expert organisations to champion learning for people in prison.