Pioneering prison learning pilot shows signs of success

1 August 2016

A new curriculum trialled in three women’s prisons, led by the Learning and Work Institute, shows positive results and will be made available more widely.

The new Personal Social Development (PSD) course, Get Set for Success, piloted in HMP/YOI Drake Hall, HMP Eastwood Park and HMP & YOI Low Newton, has produced powerful results including women feeling more positive about learning, work and social relationships, and feeling more confident and optimistic for their future.

In 2014 The Learning and Work Institute was commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to develop and pilot a PSD curriculum with the ultimate aim of reducing reoffending.

Commenting on an evaluation of the pilots, Dr Fiona Aldridge, Assistant Director at the Learning and Work Institute said:

“I’m delighted that the Get Set for Success pilots have shown how learning can make a positive difference to offenders in custody. From the evaluation we’ve learned what works and why and we’ve made recommendations for making the course a success elsewhere.

“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 and we’ve have had a lot of interest from providers who are keen to trial the curriculum in men’s prisons and young offender institutions.

“Learning can transform lives for the better and, in the case of learning for rehabilitation, these changes not only benefit individuals but also bring advantages to the whole community.

“We have learned a lot from this pilot project and how to get the best outcomes for learners. Our message to the UK Government is that prisoners should have access to high quality PSD learning to support them to progress with other learning and work opportunities and ultimately to reduce reoffending.”


For further information, contact:

Jamie Matthews, Head of Communications on 07919 325839 or

Notes to editors:

  • The full evaluation report  PERSONAL SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT CURRICULUM FOR WOMEN IN PRISONS: Evaluation of Get Set for Success pilots can be found here
  • A blog from our Head of Research reflecting on these results can be found here