Prisoners' Education Trust is proud to be working with the growing number of prison/university partnerships across the country and internationally. These innovative partnerships bring universities, and often university students, into prisons to learn alongside prisoners. In 2017, PET began to support and develop these initiatives through the Prison University Partnerships in Learning (PUPiL) network.

PUPiL partnerships have the potential to transform the learning experience of students both inside and outside prison, and to improve the educational opportunities we offer to those in custody and in the community.

 Sign up to the PUPiL Network

The network brings together students, practitioners and academics. It aims to:

  • Provide a forum for students, practitioners and academics to come together and share their experiences
  • Support existing and emerging prison/university partnerships by sharing and promoting good practice
  • Identify opportunities for future projects and research
  • Use shared evidence and experiences to influence future academic and prison education policy

This network may be of interest to you if you are:

  • An academic or prison staff member interested in setting up a prison/university partnership
  • A student who has taken part in a prison/university partnership – whether while in prison or enrolled at a university
  • A student interested in taking part in a prison/university partnership
  • A researcher or policy maker interested in the potential and evidence base around this pioneering area of prison and academic education

 Sign up to the PUPiL Network


Prison-University Partnerships: A Toolkit

Prison-university partnerships have blossomed in the UK over the last five years. To support their continued growth and development, PET has produced Prison-University Partnerships: A Toolkit – the first resource published by the PUPiL network.

The toolkit introduces the types of partnerships that currently exist, and offers guidance to those setting up new projects. Whether you’re starting a partnership from scratch, or hoping to get more out of an existing collaboration, we hope that this toolkit is useful for everyone interested in this new, enriching model of education.

Download the Toolkit


If you have any questions regarding the PUPiL network or would like to circulate information, events or resources, contact:


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    Cardiff Metropolitan University

    HMP Prescoed

    Start Date: 01/01/2017
    Subject: Chase Alcohol and Substance Misuse Programme Teaching Adults Psychology

    One strand of this partnership is focused on Chase, an alcohol and substance misuse programme. This partnership consists of a teaching programme of lectures and group work involving Cardiff Metropolitan University lecturers teaching a cohort of HMP Prescoed students who are taking part in the Chase alcohol and substance misuse programme. Over ten weeks, the Prescoed students complete a Level 4 module to become qualified to teach other adults on any work placements or future employment they embark upon. This programme came about through a student at Cardiff Metropolitan University student who attends his course while on licence from HMP Prescoed, and the professional links he forged with the Chase students.

    The Teaching Adults course is a level 3, 10 credit course accredited through the Cardiff Met University. It is a free course and is intended as an introduction for anyone who is interested in teaching post 16. They offer this in community venues usually over 6 weeks for 3 hours a week, and have now taught this multiple times in HMP Prescoed.

    The course is intended to give the opportunity to see if teaching is for you and would lead on to the PCET course and ultimately on to the PGCE in post compulsory Education & Training.

    The main aim is to raise aspirations and awareness of the skills needed to be an effective teacher of adults.  It defines the roles and responsibilities of an adult tutor and looks at how learners are motivated to learn and effective teaching and learning methods appropriate to the different learning styles.  The learners deliver a 10 minute presentation at the end of the course.


    Jan Jones, Cardiff Metropolitan University

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    De Montfort University

    HMP Gartree , HMP Leicester

    Start Date: 01/12/2016
    Subject: Criminology


    Heavily influenced by a belief that Universities ought to consistently work as a vehicle of “public good”, De Montfort University has been working collaboratively to deliver courses in Criminology with HMP Gartree since November 2016. These 5 session courses are structured primarily around group work and discussion, but time is provided for voluntary written individual responses and reflections. Due to the programme’s intention to establish a space for experiential learning, the courses are currently not-for-credit. For the whole cohort, applications are considered on a series of ‘commitment to the course’ indicators. These can include, among other things, attendance at selected events and the writing of a personal statement.

    In the autumn term of 2016 students from De Montfort University and HMP Leicester joined together for an intensive short criminology module. Led by Ross Little, a criminology lecturer at De Montfort, and supported by Phil Novis, Governor at HMP Leicester, 17 students were brought together to discuss criminological controversies over a week-long Learning Together course. Find out how it went with De Montfort University and HMP Leicester intensive 5-day module here.

    You can read more about this partnership in our PUPiL blog interview with Phil Novis.


    Ross Little

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    Durham University

    HMP Durham , HMP Frankland , HMP Low Newton

    Start Date: 01/10/2014
    Subject: Criminology Inside Out

    Criminology students at Durham University have an exciting opportunity, to take one of their modules as an Inside-Out course within prison. All third year criminology undergraduates and some Masters students have the option to complete a credit-bearing criminology module inside a nearby prison for one afternoon each week for ten weeks, designed and delivered as an Inside-Out course. Durham University operates a rolling programme of undergraduate and postgraduate Inside-Out courses, as well as one-off master classes, at HMP Frankland Category A men’s prison, HMP Durham Category B men’s prison and HMP Low Newton women’s prison.


    In an article by the Telegraph in January 2016, it is statead "The Durham students went in "terrified", but bonds were formed after they had met the prisoners and shared in-depth discussions. Some "outside" students have changed their career plans and now want to work with prisoners. "It can be life-changing for prisoners and also for the 'outside' students," she added. Both "inside" and "out" students received the same formal academic credit, as well as a certificate, for completing the course. One former Frankland prisoner was considering studying for a Masters after completing the programme and said it gave inmates self-belief that they could succeed away from crime".


    Our December 2018 guest blog is from Diana Scott, who works in EAP (English for Academic Purposes) at Durham University. She talks about her experience bringing academic English support into prisons.


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    Edge Hill University

    HMP Thorn Cross

    Start Date: 01/01/2017
    Subject: Criminology, Zemiology, Sociology

    The Learning Together collaborative partnership between Edge Hill University and HMP Thorn Cross was set up and rolled out in 2017. The partnership is wholly funded by Edge Hill University and has been validated for an initial period of 5 years. We have worked closely with our partners at HMP Thorn Cross and Novus (the in-house education provider) who have supported this project, supplying education support and teaching facilities. 


    The Learning Together module involves final year students from Edge Hill (from both the Single Honours Criminology and Joint Honours Criminology and Sociology programmes) and learners from Thorn Cross prison. In keeping with the broad pedagogical aims of the national Learning Together project, this module uses education as a means to connect people in Universities and in the criminal justice system: to dismantle stereotypes and prejudices in both directions; and to provide a reflective, empowering and empathic learning experience.


    Anita Hobson,

    Alana Barton


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    Edinburgh Napier University

    HMYOI Polmont , HMP Edinburgh

    Start Date: 01/09/2011
    Subject: University Student Placements for Peer Learning in Literacy and Media Literary Reading Groups

    Undergraduate students in Edinburgh Napier’s School of Arts and Creative Industries can complete a placement at HMP Edinburgh’s learning centre, working alongside prison education staff. University students studying on English Literature degrees engage in literacy activities, providing individual feedback to learners at the prison and sharing learning strategies. Placements last six weeks (one half-day session per week). This initiative has been running since 2011 and won the Herald Higher Education Partnership Award in 2016


    Undergraduate students in Photography, Film and Television can participate in a media project, working with young people at HMYOI Polmont to collaboratively produce film and photographs. Learners at Polmont get peer support in developing a range of photographic and film-making techniques. This project won the Herald Higher Education Widening Access Award. 


    New initiative at HMP Edinburgh for female learners with limited access to education. One-hour evening sessions take place once a week every fortnight and are delivered in blocks of five sessions. Reading assignments are a mix of poetry, short fiction and non-fiction; film clips are occasionally shown to enhance engagement and encourage discussion and critical reflection. Meetings typically feature shared reading practices to maximize participation of less confident readers. Group members are awarded a certificate of participation at the end of each block to recognize commitment and boost confidence.


    Anne Schwan (English Literature and reading groups)

    Lindsay Morgan (Photograph

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    Goldsmiths, University of London

    HMP & YOI Isis

    Start Date: 01/01/2017
    Subject: Social Research, Philosophy

    A social science research methods course ran in HMPYOI Isis between January and March 2017 with Open Book at Goldsmiths, University of London – involving 18 learners in total, 16 of whom were under 25 years old. The Open Book Project aims to break down the barriers to higher education for people from a wide range of non-traditional backgrounds including, offending, addiction and mental health. Sarah Lambert and Joe Baden of Open Book co-ordinated this Learning Together partnership, initiated by PET as part of our work focusing on improving education for young people and young adults in custody and after release, as well as piloting ways to support younger learners to have ‘a voice’ in shaping the education offer available in their prison.

    Ten weekly sessions covered a number of topics including qualitative methods, ethnography, reading research, and positioning of the researcher, which were developed and delivered by course tutor Rachel from Open Book and supported by several guest lecturers. The guest lecturers were ex-prisoners who had significant personal experience with the prison context and were currently studying and/or researching prisons. The approach to learning focused on the core values of Learning Together and Open Book in nurturing talent, collaboration and participation, and encouraging learners to value and reflect on their own life experiences. A significant aspect of the course involved getting the learners to apply their experience and skills in practice by devising a research project examining how prison education at HMPYOI Isis can be improved.

    PET has commissioned an external researcher (Dr Anita Mehay from the University of East London) to examine the strengths and challenges in developing, implementing, and achieving the goals of the course. The evaluation consists of observations, a survey, and semi-structured interviews with learners and staff. The HMYOI Isis learners have overwhelmingly highlighted their increased confidence and actualisation of achieving a higher education standard. Read more about the completion of the first module here.

    A second course, focusing on philosophy, has since been developed at HMPYOI Isis based on some of these learnings and ran in spring-summer 2017.


    Sarah Lambert

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    Leeds Beckett University

    HMP Full Sutton

    Start Date: 01/01/2017
    Subject: Penology and Prison Sociology


    Commencing in January 2017, the accredited courses in Penology and Prison Sociology coordinated by Leeds Beckett University and HMP Full Sutton are structured around a 12-week University semester. The ideology behind the course structure and accreditation is one of “equality of experience”, irrespective of whether the learner is recruited from Leeds Beckett University or HMP Full Sutton. This is reflected in the application to the courses, which consider as aptitude indicators both the ‘desire to learn’ and the applicants’ ‘track record of commitment to learning’. The driving motive for this partnership is the “reintegration process of HMP students through the means of education”.


    A month later, February 2017, prisoners at HMP Full Sutton enrolled as students at Leeds Beckett University and took part in the new degree-level programme within the prison, alongside Leeds Beckett Criminology students. In a blog post, Shaun Williamson, Head of Reducing Reoffending at HMP Full Sutton, explains why this is such an important development for prison education. Read here


    Former learning Together student and researcher, Stacey Groundwell wrote in September 2017 a piece about her dissertation research and personal experience studying in HMP Full Sutton with other Leeds Beckett students as part of her criminolgy degree. Read about her research here.


    Leeds Beckett University are currently in the second year of delivering an accredited Level 6 penology module at HMP Full Sutton. The first run of the module (2016/17) saw all students receiving a 2:1 grade or higher resulting in 20 university credits awarded.


    In 2017/18, Dr Emma Dunmore from the Leeds Beckett Psychology team has begun piloting a Psychology short course which is being taught to a cohort of Leeds-based students, Full Sutton-based students and operational prison staff (in civilian clothing). It is hoped that following the pilot short course, this will be developed into a fully accredited module. Beyond this, a group of academics from different schools within the university are soon to begin work on the development of the Beckett Connect project with a mission of reaching the hard to reach. We are planning to deliver a range of taught sessions throughout the year on a simultaneously taster or credit bearing basis. In doing so, we are broadening our subject delivery and creating more consistent contact throughout the year between university academics and prison-based learners.




    Helen Nichols,

    Bill Davies

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    Liverpool John Moores University

    HMP Altcourse

    Start Date: 01/01/2017
    Subject: Criminology


    Helena Gosling

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    London Shakespeare Workout

    HMP Pentonville

    Start Date: 01/07/2017
    Subject: Drama and the performing arts


    The Linked-Up initiative, or just LUP – bringing disparate bodies together in hope, is a partnership between London Shakespeare Workout and HMP Pentonville in association with UK drama & music schools. So far we have been working with RADA, Guidhall, E15, Drama Central, Arts Ed, Fourth Monkey, and Rose Bruford.


    This Initiative aims to  offer a meaningful prison interaction with as many UK drama school/performance arts academy students as is possible and, in doing so, offer as many inmates as possible an opportunity to share in an enhanced dramatic experience - especially for those for whom conventional education may have failed.


    This 'in-house' drama programme runs on a twelve week turnaround basis with each assigned period being governed by a dedicated theme which itself is directly LINKED UP through a presentation in a tri-monthly conference.


    Outcomes for learners:

    Interviews/showcase with casting directors, production directors and casting agents

    Professional headshot

    A Certificate of completion and a recommendation letter 

    Production of radio programme for National Prison Radio

    A LSW outreach worker to support prisoners in terms of employment and further training on their release


    One tranche addressed the theme of Race & Theatre. This culminated in a conference on the 29th of January on this theme. The aim of this conference is to raise awareness of BME in the industry and how prison can be a recruitment ground for theatrical industry. Giles Terera (Hamilton) and Sir Lenny Henry confirmed their attendance.


    Considering London's 241 theatres had takings of over £600m last year, employing more than 3,000 performers at any one time, it makes sense for Pentonville to be working with this industry.


    Jose Aguiar

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    London South Bank University

    HMP Pentonville

    Start Date: 01/10/2016
    Subject: Education for Social Justice

    The Education for Social Justice module offered through the partnership between London Southbank University and HMP Pentonville is incorporated within the newly developed degree in Education in Local & Global Communities. Exploring various topics such as ‘the purpose of education’ and ‘models of education’, the module is structured around a 12 week series of weekly sessions, delivered as interactive workshops incorporating taught input, discussion and feedback on set readings. The course is assessed through both group projects and an individual reflective journal. Successful applicants are selected for their commitment to the programme and its principles.


    In January 2017, students, friends and family members of learnersfrom London South Bank University (LSBU) and HMP Pentonville celebrated the successful completion of a unique module. The course took place over the full autumn term and was led by Jenny Fogarty, senior lecturer at LSBU. An optional addition to an undergraduate degree in education, the module took eight LSBU students outside of their comfort zone and into HMP Pentonville, where they joined 12 Pentonville students to take a module on Education for Social Justice. This diverse group explored how education is used as a tool for social change and the factors that might influence that such as history, curriculum, theories of learning, technology and assessment. Read more about it here.




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    Middlesex University

    HMP Wandsworth

    Start Date: 10/01/2017
    Subject: 'Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice'

    The Higher Education partnership between Middlesex University and HMP Wandsworth forms part of the ‘Learning Together’ initiative established by Cambridge University bringing students from universities and within prisons to learn together, and learn from one another, in an innovative method of knowledge exchange. The Middlesex module ‘Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice’ is taught over 10 weeks and covers topics on the sociology of crime and deviance, youth justice, criminal court sentencing, and comparative prison perspectives. Each session comprises a lecture, set readings and small group discussions co-ordinated by group facilitators to advance ideas, debate, and formulate new, reflective, and experiential knowledge. The first cohort studied between January and May 2017. Looking forward, we plan to continue delivering the module and hope to encourage other faculties within Middlesex University to add to our prison and university partnership learning.


    Middlesex Students and Staff at end of course award ceremony- HMP Wandsworth:

    "Overall I think it was fantastic.  …one of the main things that drew me to it was the fact that it was going to be this very immersive experience that had two elements of society that don’t necessarily overlap very frequently.” (NK, Middlesex University, PhD)
    "This kind of experience is not replaceable…from talking to those students (Wandsworth)…that is something I could never get from a book…” (Middlesex University, PhD)


    Read more about the partnership between Middlesex University and HMP Wandsworth here.


    Jenni Ward

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    Newman University

    HMP Birmingham

    Start Date: 01/01/2017
    Subject: Education


    Lecturers at Newman University started in late 2016 a programme of Higher Education in HMP Birmingham called 'Going Straight to University'. Modelled within the framework of Learning Together and inspired by Baz Dreisinger's Prison to College Pipeline in John Jay College in New York, this partnership seeks to provide credits to prisoner learners that will provide a meaningful springboard into higher education on release.


    The 2016 pilot saw six Newman University students join six HMP Birmingham students on an eight week Introduction to Social Sciences course. Newman University aims that this model will be extended in order that prisoner students can begin to obtain credits towards a Newman University degree towards the end of their prison sentence.

    Sharonjit Kaur, graduate of Newman University and the Going Straight to University partnership, wrote about her experiences as a student on the course and reflects on an event which hosted Prof. Baz Dreisinger and some of her ex-prisoner students from the USA on the PUPiL Blog. Read the full story here.


    Karen Graham

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    Nottingham Trent University

    HMP Lowdham Grange

    Start Date: 01/09/2016
    Subject: Education Studies, Criminology

    The first Learning Together course between Nottingham Trent University and HMP Lowdham Grange piloted in the 2016/17 academic year, and was themed around the theory, policy and practice of Criminology and Education Studies. The 8 week course is intended as a study of, an exploration, and discussion into the value of lifelong learning, and the benefits of education provision for all. Delivered by Nottingham Trent University academics, learning is facilitated by a combination of seminars and discussions.


    Anne O'Grady

    Paul Hamilton

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    Oxford Brookes University

    HMP Aylesbury

    Start Date: 01/01/2017
    Subject: Criminology


    Richard Huggins

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    Royal Holloway University of London

    HMYOI Feltham , HMP & YOI Bronzefield

    Start Date: 19/01/2017
    Subject: 'Thinking Criminologically'- a critical introduction to criminological issues

    This 8-week Learning Together course, ‘Thinking Criminologically’, designed by Morwenna and Serena and incorporating guest lectures from colleagues, brought first-year undergraduate criminology students into the prison to learn together with young men at Feltham (aged 18-20) launching the Spring 2017 term. We established this scheme because we believe such a partnership has the potential to transform the learning experience of students both inside and outside prison, and to improve the educational opportunities we (as a College) offer, both to those in custody and in the community.

    This course builds on best practice established by previous Learning Together (LT) initiatives, centred on a specific relational, reflexive and transformative pedagogical approach. The team developed this by: (a) targeting first year undergraduate students with Widening Participation status; and (b) situating the course within a Young Offender Institution.. This core focus on developing the educational experience and potential of WP students - both in custody and in the community - marked out Royal Holloway’s LT course as unique.

    The programme has a strong study skills element, the aim of which was again twofold: to support Royal Holloway students as they make the transition into Higher Education, while also providing the young men at Feltham with valuable transferable skills, both for future study and for employability. We were also keen to develop all students’ critical reading and reflexivity skills, providing each with a Learning Log to be completed weekly to allow them to reflect on their individual learning journey, and allowing them to see the ways in which academic learning connects to wider skills development.

    For this work, the team at Royal Holloway were awarded the 2017 College Teaching Prize for Collaboration. Read more about it here.

    We were delighted to welcome Rachel Billington from Inside Time newspaper to join us for a session. Read more about her experience here.

    With support from the College’s Suffrage project funds, Rosie Meek and Serena Wright have also led a module entitled “'Pioneering Women” at our local women’s prison, HMP Bronzefield, with contributions from colleagues across the School representing our multi-disciplinary focus (psychology, law, criminology, sociology).


    Serena Wright,  Rosie Meek

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    Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR)

    HMP Schotts , HMP Greenock , HMP Barlinnie

    Start Date: 11/12/2017
    Subject: Social sciences, humanities and physical sciences

    University postgraduate students meet monthly with prison-based students in peer-run sessions at HMPs Shotts, Greenock and Barlinnie to discuss academic texts in social sciences, humanities and physical sciences. The aim is to reproduce the kinds of reading groups typically available in universities as part of a liberal arts educational philosophy and which support: group based learning, discussion and debate skills, critical analytical skills, close reading, high level textual engagement and knowledge acquisition. Groups have been running since 2014 in Scotland and average around 8-10 participants (mixed university and prison) and supported prisoners in university level distance courses and also led to pursuit of postgraduate education opportunities. At HMP Greenock men and women prisoners are part of the same, mixed group, supporting normalization.


    The Centre consists of members from the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and Strathclyde

    Sarah Armstrong, University of Glasgow

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    Teesside University

    HMP Holme House

    Start Date: 01/10/2016
    Subject: Sociology and Criminology Inside Out

    The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program was founded by Temple University, Philadelphia in 1997 with certified instructors now delivering modules across the US, Canada, Australia and the UK.

    The first Inside-Out course with Teesside University at HMP Holme House was established in 2016 and takes the central concern of social justice and explores this in the local context, tracing connections between global forces and local effects on the economy and industry, poverty and inequality, as well as crime and criminal justice. Undergraduate criminology and sociology students study alongside a cohort from HMP Holme House on a 14 week accredited module engaging with critical discussions and group work within an equal, positive and passionate learning environment. The course aims to open access to higher education, promote transformative learning and challenge preconceptions whilst ultimately engaging with discussions in relation to social justice. You can read more about the 2016 partnership here.


    Victoria Bell, Laura Goldsack

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    The Crito Project - University of East Anglia

    HMP Hollesley Bay , HMP Whitemoor , HMP Warren Hill

    Start Date: 01/09/2013
    Subject: Philosophy

    The Crito Project is an organisation whose purpose is to provide a degree-level education in philosophy, logic and ethics to inmates serving their sentences in the East of England. The Project has been active since 2013 and has expanded to the point where it is delivering education across three prisons. The Crito Project's academic provision is overseen and endorsed by the University of East Anglia's Philosophy Department.


    Currently the course offers modules on Epistemology, Political Philosophy and The Stoics. Expectations of the course director are high, and pupils are taught to a degree level, with the assumption being that educational achievement is predicated upon both frankness and equality. The decision to promote the study of Philosophy in prisons was due primarily to the transformative nature of the discipline, specifically its perspective-shifting capacity to help its students change their conceptions of themselves and their world. The course is audited in partnership with a clinical psychologist in order to assess its benefits and efficacy.


    Benjamin Walker, Founder and lead tutor

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    The Open University

    HMP Wandsworth, HMP Wormwood Scrubs , HMP Oakwood , HMP Stafford

    Start Date: 20/10/2017
    Subject: Law

    The Open University have been supporting Students in Secure Environments since the 1970s.


    They ran a variety of prison-based public legal education pilot projects with the St. Giles Trust, HMP Wandsworth and HMP Wormwoood Scrubs over 2017/18  academic year.


    St. Giles Trust 

    Small groups of OU law students will work with St.Giles peer advisors to identify areas of legal need within their client community and develop suitable public legal education projects to help address that need. Projects are planned for HMP Send and HMP Oakwood. 


    HMP Wandsworth

    A small group of students will collaborate with the production team behind Radio Wanno; HMP Wandsworth’s in-house radio station. The aim will be to work collaboratively with prison learners to develop a public legal education radio programme that will address legal issues of relevance to the audience.


    HMP Wormwood Scrubs

    OU students contribute to the research, design and delivery of a law seminar series incorporating current academic debates on topical legal issues. The aim of the project is to provide prison learners with an engaging and academically rigorous programme of study that will develop confidence and capacity to pursue further academic study.


    For further information please see here.


    OUResearch Seminar Series 

    Currently in HMP Stafford and HMP Oakwood the OU runs a research seminar. Each month, an  academic will deliver a short lecture to prisoners, who are then invited to ask questions and discuss the issues raised. Topics have ranged from the rise of Donald Trump to, to global warming, to the atmosphere of the moon - to name but a few.


    The events are first-come-first-served for any prisoner, and open to all. There is no requirement for participants to be doing an OU course, or to have any particular academic level, and in some cases the audience has ranged from PhD students to prisoners with very basic literacy skills. 


    The feedback has been fantastic, from prisoners and academics alike. The success of these events and their minimal cost, as well as a swell of support from OU academics, mean that OUResearch has the potential to be rolled out across other prisons in the UK. Shaun McMann is happy to be contacted with questions.


    Accreditation of PUPiL programmes

    The OU is offering students the opportunity to accredit their learning from PUPiL projects and start on an OU degree pathway via its new “Make Your Learning Count” module aimed at students using Open Educational Resources. They are in talks about offering this option to prisoners for the first time this year, and are keen to speak to partnership practitioners interested in accrediting their project. Please contact Ruth McFarlane for more details. 



    For Law projects: Hugh J.Mcfaul

    For OUResearch: Shaun McMann

    For other enquiries: Ruth McFarlane

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    The University of Manchester

    HMP Risley

    Start Date: 01/09/2017
    Subject: Criminology

    In September 2017 the University of Manchester (led by Prof. Shadd Maruna and Dr Rose Broad) began working with HMP Risley to run a pilot of ‘Learning Criminology Inside’, largely based on the ethos of Learning Together. Level 3 students from the University studied the module ‘From Imprisonment to Rehabilitation’ towards their BA Criminology alongside students from the prison for 10 weeks. The students within the prison listen to a podcast of the lectures that the university students attend, and then together they will take part in a two hour weekly seminar. This session is run by different University of Manchester staff and will be based on dialogical learning, with group work activities. There is a dedicated researcher for the pilot of this project funded by the University’s Centre for Higher Education Research, Innovation and Learning (CHERIL). The project team would, in the future, like to see more partnerships take place within the School of Law, and the wider University.


    Read about Joe's experience, a student based at HMP Risley, in his contribution to the PUPiL blog here.


    Emily Turner

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    University College London

    HMP Brixton

    Start Date: 01/01/2017
    Subject: Geography


    Tatiana Thieme

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    University of Cambridge

    HMP Grendon , HMP Spring Hill , HMP Whitemoor

    Start Date: 01/01/2015
    Subject: Criminology Theology//Philosophy English


    In January 2015, with Drs Amy Ludlow and Ruth Armstrong in the front line, the University of Cambridge started a new educational scheme called Learning Together. Drs Amy Ludlow and Ruth Armstrong (2016) explains Learning together as a "means to connect people who otherwise may be unlikely to meet. It aims to do this through co-creating learning spaces within prison whereby students who are currently imprisoned study alongside students from a local university. It prioritises the interactive and engaging delivery of academically rigorous educational content. It facilitates dialogical and experiential engagement with this educational content and models unconditional".

    Drs Amy Ludlow and Ruth Armstrong (2016) further state that "Learning Together is not trying to change people. We are learning with,from and through each other. This changes us all. Learning Together provides opportunities to work with people who we might have thought were different from ourselves and to let this shape our understanding of who we are, and what we do in our lives".


    A spearhead in the Learning Together partnership since 2015, a collaborative learning experience between Cambridge University and HMP Grendon has run annually from January to March. The course , ‘Introduction to Criminology’, is composed of a series of 10 sessions delivered by guest lecturers, and incorporates a multiplicity of teaching and learning styles such as group work, individual essays, and creative responses. A key selection criterion for all participants is a desire to learn, and the main aim of the programme is to provide an empowering learning space through which routes out of prison can be achieved. Moving forward, course directors hope to see similar projects becoming commonplace across all departments at Cambridge University.

    Several articles and blogs have been written about Cambridge University's to HMP Whitemoor, HMP Spring Hill and HMP Grendon, you can find a list of all the publications here.


    Drs Amy Ludlow and Ruth Armstrong toured Latin America in 2017 to learn more about the well-established partnerships taking place in Mexico, Uruguay and Argentina. Read their lessons learned here in their contribution to the PUPiL blog.



    Amy Ludlow, Ruth Armstrong, Ryan Williams, Beth Phillips


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    University of Central Lancashire

    HMP Kirkham

    Start Date: 01/02/2018
    Subject: Criminology: Debating differences

    This is an annual project that is available to 3rd year criminology/law students, and prisoners at HMP Kirkham which brings together 6-8 from each cohort.


    The module is delivered over a period of 4 sessions, on a 3 weekly basis.  It first ran in 2017, with a second module running from February 2018.


    The module centres around debating current social issues. Each session runs as a separate debate about a contemporary issue in society, with participants being split randomly into two teams, and each team allocated one side of the debate. The teams then get half an hour to prepare their argument, before the debate takes place. Debate topics last year included; banning tobacco in the UK, abolishing the British monarchy, the legalisation of euthanasia, and the dangers of the internet. The aim of these sessions is to break down boundaries and to create a positive learning environment where students and prisoners can develop debating techniques, discuss relevant topics and learn to create coherent arguments.

    The module convenors received extremely positive feedback from all of those involved – Evidence of development of confidence and communication skills, as well as team working and debating techniques.


    Dr. Laura Kelly

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    University of East London

    HMP Aylesbury , HMP & YOI Isis

    Start Date: 29/01/2018
    Subject: Teach Together: learning, mentoring, and teaching skills; Gaming


    Teach Together focuses on developing the competencies in learning, mentoring, and teaching in ten prison-based learners at HMPYOI Isis and 12 trainee teachers in UEL.


    Specifically, the course introduces learners and trainee teachers to the theory and skills relating to communication, active listening, motivating others, and being critical and reflective learners, mentors and teachers. Trainee teachers work in pairs to plan and deliver one session of the course, and then take part as teaching assistants and learners themselves throughout the other sessions. Prison-based learners will be set activities each week to undertake with a designated mentee in the prison. At the end of the course, prison learners will have the option to go on to formal mentoring roles and/or a longer course on teaching skills. An evaluation will be conducted at the end of the course to explore the effect on the skills developed, aspirations, and support networks developed for the trainee teachers, prison-based learners and their mentees.


    We hope to expand Teach Together where this will be offered as a formal placement for future trainee teachers at UEL and other academic institutions and prisons. Teach Together has been kindly funded by the UEL Civic Engagement fund which supports innovative and exciting projects that embody the ethos of civic engagement.


    A further partnership based at UEL is a Gaming partnership developed by David Dorrington.


    Gerry Czerniawski, Anita MehayWendy Monaghan - Teach Together

    David Dor

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    University of Edinburgh

    HMP Schotts , HMP Low Moss , HMP Cornton Vale

    Start Date: 11/12/2017
    Subject: Philosophy

    Low Moss and Cornton Vale prisons offered seven-week Introduction to Philosophy courses to prisoners adapting a successful MOOC (massively online open course) offered by University of Edinburgh academics. The courses were designed by Philosophy researchers at Edinburgh, and delivered through small-group tutorials by postgraduate students. Tutorials took the format of guided discussions using the Community of Philosophical Inquiry (CoPI) format, a pedagogical method which does not presuppose any particular knowledge or literacy level from students and which work to strip away prisoners’ previous assumptions about themselves and the world. For example, during tutorials, students could not talk about themselves or use personal anecdotes, which encouraged them to focus on the conceptual discussion (linked to the MOOC’s content) and the steps in reasoning that make up a philosophical argument.


    Following the course, several students went on to study National 5 Philosophy, and both Cornton Vale and Low Moss prisons are extending their Philosophy teaching due to interest from learners in prison.


    The University of Edinburgh has provided a grant to develop our philosophy programmes in HMP Glenochil and HMP Shotts prisons in early 2018.


    Mary Bovill

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    University of Greenwich

    HMP Downview

    Start Date: 25/10/2017
    Subject: Criminology: Inside Out

    In the summer of 2017, Dr Linnéa Osterman and Dr Giulia Zampini from the University of Greenwich travelled to America to be trained as Inside Out facilitators. Read about their experience here.


    They are now developing an Inside Out partnership with HMP Downview which is due to begin in the Spring term of 2018.


    Camille Stengel

    Giulia Zampini

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    University of Hull

    HMP Humber

    Start Date: 01/01/2017
    Subject: Criminology


    Adam Calverly

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    University of Kent

    HMP Swaleside

    Start Date: 01/01/2016
    Subject: Criminology Inside Out

    In April 2017, students from the University of Kent came together with their fellow students at HMP Swaleside to celebrate the completion of a distinctive university module. The ‘Inside’ Students from Swaleside and the ‘Outside’ students from Kent University had spent one day a week for the last academic term taking part in an Inside Out criminology partnership within the prison. Read more about the partnership here.


    Dr. Caroline Chatwin


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    University of Northampton

    HMP Onley

    Start Date: 01/01/2017
    Subject: Criminology and Social Justice

    Lecturers in Criminology from Northampton are giving a three-part lecture course in Social Justice to students from HMP Onley alongside a cohort of Northampton’s Year 2 Criminology students. Established to break down barriers and enable the Onley students to “engage outside the normal parameters”, there is a view to expand the partnership to include other subject areas.


    Manos Daskalou

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    University of Roehampton

    HMP Belmarsh

    Start Date: 01/01/2017
    Subject: Social Sciences, Criminology

    The University of Roehampton run a Criminology module called “Understanding Justice” which is fully accredited for all 20 students who enrol. They have 10 Roehampton-based students and 10 Belmarsh-based students for the 2018/19, Level 6 module, which is due to start again this year in October. In the course they tackle two theoretical positions on the meaning of justice before applying these abstract notions to real world cases, for example by looking at the “Snoopers Charter” through the lens of consequentialism. With rigorous teaching materials and methods, and a high level of commitment from the HMP Belmarsh team in getting everyone into the classroom each week, they are able to boast a 100% pass rate for the 2017/18 class. They are hoping to match the same level of achievement and enjoyment for 2018/19 too.

    You can read more about this partnership in our November 18 PUPiL blog.


    Alison Lamont

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    University of Salford

    HMP Forest Bank

    Start Date: 16/11/2018
    Subject: Criminology

    This Inside Out partnership between the University of Salford and HMP Forest Bank teaches a Criminology module. It is running for the first time in Autumn 2018.

    This criminology based module asks key questions each week, such as 'What are prisons for?' The module has two assessments, a reflective essay and a group work project. All students, both inside and out, have the same readings and assessment and receive credits for the module.



    Dr. Kelly Lockwood

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    University of Westminster

    HMP Pentonville , HMP Grendon , HMP Coldingley

    Start Date: 01/10/2016
    Subject: Criminology: as part of the British Convict Criminology group


    In January 2016 British Convict Criminology at University of Westminster started its first prison-university partnership at HMP Pentonville. The project, Making Links, involves level 6 BA Criminology students studying an Introduction to Prisons course with Pentonville learners studying at level 3 and above. It was cited as an example of good practice in the Ministry of Justice’s (2016) Coates Review on prison education. 

    In October 2017 the University of Westminster started its second prison-university higher education programme, a Convict Criminology reading group with social science degree students at HMP Grendon. The co-produced terms of reference for this project, which has been agreed by all communities across the prison, is available here.

    In 2018 the British Convict Criminology reading group model was replicated by Drs Darke and Aresti in HMP Coldingley.

    Natalie Ellis, a student from Westminster University, wrote about her experience on the Making Links project at HMP Pentonville for the PUPiL blogRead about her experience here.

    We had a two-part feature for our September and October PUPiL blogs. In part one we interviewed Mandy, who works in the education department at Coldingley and helps to facilitate the partnership. In part two, we interviewed three of the prisoner participants.


    Sacha Darke and Andy Aresti, Westminster University


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    Wakefield College

    HMP Wakefield

    Start Date: 01/01/2017
    Subject: Education


    Clare Hagerup

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    York St. John University

    HMP Askham Grange , HMP New Hall

    Start Date: 01/01/2017
    Subject: Drama

    The York St John (YSJ) University Prison Partnership Project started in 2013 and is a partnership between York St John University and HMP New Hall (closed female prison) & HMP Askham Grange (open female prison). It was born out of the idea and desire to provide a unique creative arts partnership between education, the arts and the prison service facilitating a weekly drama and arts provision in prison.

    The partnership brings together two different kinds of communities - university students & staff and female prisoners & prison staff and aims to enable each to encounter each other across profound social barriers; two communities who in other circumstances wouldn’t normally meet. The intention is for both communities to be part of a transformative & educational learning experience that emphasises creative collaboration and addresses issues of social concern. The aim of the project is to merge these two worlds so that participants come together through quality arts engagement, in order to unearth & illuminate dialogues that explore perspectives & perceptions of women in the criminal justice system, beyond adopted media myth & society stigma. Read more here.


    Rachel Conlon