Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Prison Education - a survey

This is rather old news, I'm afraid, dating back to February this year, but still very relevant. You wouldn't expect a trade union to be keen on the privatisation of public services; and the University and College Union are certainly not keen on the way in which "offender learning" has been contracted out to A4e. They produced a briefing for the Learning & Skills Council, with the results of a survey of about 100 UCU members who are employed by A4e. It includes:

"We asked what A4e was like as an employer and provider of offender learning. This is what they told us:
  • 89.5 per cent employees would prefer to work for a college of further education.
  • Over half (50.6 per cent) rate A4e as ‘Poor’ as a provider of quality offender learning.
  • Over half (54.3 per cent) say offender learning has got worse since A4e won the contract."
"Asked if A4e should be awarded the contract for offender learning again an overwhelming 81.6 per cent said ‘NO’"

It also includes a number of quotes from employees, including:
“A4e do not appear to understand or care about what education should be for. In my opinion education should be about enabling offenders to further themselves as individuals. They seem to regard the contract as a business.”

Another complaint concerned the lack of training and development. In April this year the union asked the LSC to take notice of this in awarding the new contracts. By August it had become clear that FE colleges were withdrawing from the bidding process because they couldn't afford to deliver an adequate service, and the union was warning the LSC "that it risks putting quality and standards in prison education at risk if it hands out contracts to private providers." We'll see.

1 comment:

  1. This seems consistent with the picture in London prison education in 2013.


Keep it clean, please. No abusive comments will be approved, so don't indulge in insults. If you wish to contact me, post a comment beginning with "not for publication".