Offenders “Get set for success”

28 July 2016

Over the last year, Learning and Work Institute has been trialling a new personal social development (PSD) curriculum, Get Set for Success, in three women’s prisons (HMP/YOI Drake Hall, HMP Eastwood Park and HMP & YOI Low Newton). We’re publishing the evaluation report today, which shows that the course led to positive outcomes for both learners and the prisons. Learners’ attitudes towards learning, work, themselves and others improved and one prison reported an increased uptake of other education courses.

We were really excited when Dame Sally Coates visited one of the pilots, Drake Hall, as part of her review of prison education to see the positive outcomes of the programme herself – including increased confidence, motivation and optimism for the future. Coates has now called for greater provision of high quality PSD courses to support first steps learning.

This isn’t the first time that the case for more PSD learning in prisons has been made, however. Baroness Corston’s review of women in the criminal justice system emphasised the role of education in supporting women to develop emotional literacy and life skills.

Our own research on learning and skills provision available for women in prison, echoed this, highlighting importance of PSD that often supports women to overcome barriers to more formal learning. This is why we were particularly pleased to be asked by the then Minister of State for Justice and Civil Liberties, Simon Hughes MP, to develop Get Set for Success.

So what next? We’ll be working this year to continue developing and trialling the curriculum. Of course it’s not only women offenders that should have access to PSD learning – we’ve had a lot of interest from providers who are keen to trial the curriculum in men’s prisons and young offender institutions (YOIs) – so we’re keen to trial them in a range of contexts.

We’re currently recruiting prisons to take part in this year’s pilots. Please email for more information.