In response to their findings on what has been happening to adult education in prisons during the pandemic, Ofsted will be undertaking a new review of education in prisons.
In their commentary, Ofsted report on what has been happening to adult education in prisons during the pandemic. The evidence is drawn from 25 remote interim visits to adult prisons, which took place between January and May 2021 and 10 in-person progress monitoring visits that took place between 17 May and 31 July. All but one of the progress monitoring visits were to prisons graded requires improvement or inadequate for education, skills and work.
Ofsted maintain that since the landmark independent review of education in prisons was published in 2005, little improvement has been made in the quality of prison education and that the pandemic has undoubtedly made the situation worse. Their monitoring visits revealed that the lack of face-to-face teaching meant that prisoners had struggled to learn, and that remote learning has had a detrimental impact on prisoners’ learning outcomes. In addition, the evidence is that prisoners have lost vocational learning and work experience opportunities, and some prisons have struggled to maintain links with employers.
Over the next year, Ofsted and HM Inspectorate of Prisons will be taking a closer look at education in prisons, starting with research visits to prisons over the autumn term to examine reading. They will be assessing how prisons assess reading ability on arrival and throughout their stay, how the whole prison works together to improve prisoners’ reading and what this means in terms of prisoners’ educational progress and well-being.