Delegates at the 2017 PLA Conference had the chance to attend the following workshops, showcasing innovative approaches being implemented to improve outcomes for prisoner learners.

Photos credit: Jessica Bernard / Prisoners' Education Trust

Cell Workout

Cell Workout Enterprise C.I.C.
LJ Flanders - Director, Cell Workout Enterprise C.I.C.; Hannah Baumer - PhD student, Royal Holloway, University of London
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Attendees heard from LJ Flanders, author of prison fitness book Cell Workout, about how he has successfully developed this into a motivational course delivered in prison, using exercise to engage prisoners in education.


Developing your induction and allocation process

Education and Training Foundation (ETF) / HMP Dartmoor
Punam Khosla - Associate, Offender Learning Team, ETF; Danny Branley - Head of Reducing Reoffending, HMP Dartmoor
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This interactive workshop shared hints and tips from HMP Dartmoor on how to achieve effective regime planning. Attendees also had the opportunity to reflect on their own practice and consider prison induction and allocation processes could be developed further.


 Digital Technology in Teaching and Learning - A practical approach.

ETF / Strive Training
Angela Sanders - Associate Researcher, ETF; John Stapleton - Strive Training

This workshop explored practical approaches on how digital technology could be used effectively when delivering training in the teaching and learning environment within the prison sector.

Related resources:
'Successfully using ICT to support learners in the secure estate'  (Angela Sanders / ETF, 2017)
Visit ETF's offender learning exhibition site for news, events and resources:


 Family Learning in Prisons

Learning and Work Institute / Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council Adult, Family and Community Learning
Dawn Hall - Talent Pathways Manager, Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council

Promoting positive family relationships to help reduce re-offending – delivering parenting skills to male offenders. The workshop made use of the newly-published Family Learning in Prisons: A resource for prisons and learning providers, published by the Learning and Work Institute, 2017.

Related resources:
'Family Learning in Prisons: A Resource for Prisons and Learning Providers' (Learning and Work Institute, 2017)


Get Set for Success

Learning and Work Institute / Milton Keynes College / HMP/YOI Drake Hall
Emily Jones - Head of Research, Learning and Work Institute; Dawn Shanahan - Advanced Practitioner, HMP Birmingham
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Get Set for Success was a new programme, produced by the Learning and Work Institute, aimed at developing personal and social development skills. In partnership with Milton Keynes College, the programme had been piloted in a number of prisons since 2015. This workshop provided an opportunity for delegates to hear about Get Set for Success, how it could be delivered to different groups of learners, and the impact it had had at HMP/YOI Drake Hall.


Improving Language, Improving Lives: Lessons for ESOL delivery in the secure estate

Learning and Work Institute / The Bell Foundation
Alex Stevenson - Learning and Work Institute; Leticia Thomas - Bell Foundation
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This workshop introduced L&W’s ‘Citizens’ Curriculum’, and how it can be used to develop engaging and relevant ESOL provision in prisons. Participants heard about the benefits and participated in activities to explore the Citizens’ Curriculum, and identified actions and opportunities to use it in their day-to-day work.


Innovative New (OLASS Funded) Accredited Qualifications L1 – L3 with Sage UK

Sage Qualifications
Fiona Bradley – Sage Qualifications; Simon – former learner, HMP Dartmoor; Vickie Keast – Education Team Leader, HMP Dartmoor
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From teaching students how to manage their money in preparation for release to a level 3 diploma. These progressive courses can aid employability, increase confidence and in some instances inspire learners to start a business. An ex-offender, Simon, was present at the workshop to give a very personal account of how the availability to this suite of qualifications transformed his career and his life. Attendees also heard from Vickie, a tutor from Dartmoor prison who worked with Sage in designing the course delivery and its outcomes.


Life Affirming Change

Jo Sharp, Novus Curriculum Manager, HMP/YOI Isis; Nina Champion, Head of Policy, Prisoners' Education Trust
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A workshop exploring some of the projects developed at HMP / YOI Isis over the last year, including:

  • A prison/university partnership with Goldsmiths University;
  • Developing student voice ambassadors;
  • 'Family Day' in the education academy;
  • The Man Up programme, rethinking masculine behaviour;
  • The Quays restaurant, involving Michelin-starred chefs to train prisoners in catering and hospitality;
  • Mind the Gap, an individualised project focusing on the construction skills gap, working with targeted employers for offenders to gain sustainable employment.


The New Flexibilities – How they work in practice

Milton Keynes College / HMPPS East Midlands
Phil Harris – Deputy Director OLASS (East Midlands), Milton Keynes College; Paul Johnston - Cluster Head of Learning & Skills & Employment (HMP Gartree and HMP Leicester), HMPPS
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Exploring how HMPPS and Milton Keynes College have utilised the new funding flexibilities to the benefit of learners within the East Midlands. It will also gave attendees the opportunity to explore how this might work in their own establishments.


Promoting the ENiGMA initiative through project based learning

Lesley Littlewood - National Training and Development Manager, Novus
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The workshop had a focus on improving the creativity of teaching and learning through project-based learning, with an emphasis on improving English and Maths. The methods used to promote learning encouraged learners to take responsibility for their own learning.


Reading for Pleasure – a whole prison approach

HMP Erlestoke / Weston College / The Reading Agency
Dan Hobbs - Weston College Curriculum Manager, HMP Erlestoke; Elizabeth Williams - Learning and Skills Manager, HMP Erlestoke; Genevieve Clarke - Programme Manager, The Reading Agency
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Reading for pleasure has been shown to engage prisoners, build their confidence and improve their skills. This workshop explored how prisons can use The Reading Agency’s Reading Ahead programme, and shared how it had been integrated successfully into a wealth of reading initiatives at HMP Erlestoke.


St. Giles Peer Advisor Programme

St Giles Trust
Steve Clarke - St. Giles’ Trust Midlands Contract Manager; Charlotte Wakeley & Lisa Hunter - Trainer Assessors, St. Giles’ Trust
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St. Giles’ Trust is a charity that puts ex-offenders at the heart of the organisation. At this workshop facilitators explained the ground-breaking Peer Advisor programme. St. Giles Trust has worked in over 34 prisons training serving prisoners to gain a Level 3 Advice & Guidance qualification; attendees had the opportunity to explore the prisoner's journey through the qualification and to ask questions to a peer advisor recently released from custody.