UCU response to Michael Gove's prisons speech

17 July 2015 | last updated: 10 December 2015

UCU has welcomed a renewed focus from government on the importance of education in prisons, but said that it cannot be delivered on the cheap.

Responding to justice secretary Michael Gove's speech on prison education, the union said that prison education needed to be meaningful and placed at the heart of the rehabilitation process. However, it warned that linking educational achievement to early release could disadvantage those who struggle most to progress in their learning.

UCU said that more needed to be done to support prison education staff and that prison education needed stable and effective funding. A recent UCU report highlighted how competitive retendering of prison education has led to instability and damaged offenders' access to education.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'UCU has long argued that prison education must be at the heart of the rehabilitation process. However, learning undertaken by prisoners must be meaningful and cannot be done on the cheap.

'It is vital that prisoners who need more support for their learning aren't disadvantaged by a race to achieve qualifications.

'A stable funding system, more support from prison governors for prison education staff and a broad curriculum offer would all help to ensure a better-quality learning experience for prisoners.'

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