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More investment in prison education needed for meaningful reform

18 May 2016 | last updated: 19 May 2016

UCU has welcomed the government's renewed focus on the importance of education in prisons, but warned that more investment is required to achieve meaningful reform.

UCU was responding to 'Unlocking Potential: a review of education in prison' published today by the Ministry of Justice, and plans for prison reform set out in the Queen's Speech which will give prison governors greater control over prison education services.

The union stressed the need for strong quality control of education commissioned by prison governors to ensure consistency across different institutions.

It added that qualified teachers must be given better incentives to enter the prison education workforce and called for more action to address current issues around low pay of prison education professionals, as outlined in the UCU charter for prison education.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'We welcome the government's focus on education as the key to successful rehabilitation, and will examine the report's recommendations in detail. However, we are clear that without more investment in prison education and strong quality controls, the proposed reforms will fail to make a real impact.

'Attracting the best qualified teachers to work in prisons is crucial to success, but more needs to be done to bring the pay of prison educators into line with the wider further education sector.'