Prison Education – OLASS

As the largest independent provider of education in prisons, we provide over two million hours of learning and vocational training each year. We are currently working with 9,100 offenders in ten prisons, delivering high quality courses that range from basic literacy to the arts.

The Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) is available to all serving prisoners and offers a range of training opportunities.

We also offer over 600 different qualifications ranging from a BTEC in Construction and the Built Environment to a GSCE Mathematics and a Diploma in Painting and Decorating.

For those seeking support after leaving custody, we can help them get free, independent advice on debt issues. We also help them find work through contracts like the Work Programme – where individuals can sign-up for employment support before being released. Additionally, we are working with employers throughout the UK to improve the recruitment practices and the job prospects of offenders, as part of the Employers’ Forum for Reducing Re-offending

What does Education in a prison look like?

We ensure that:

  • Desistance is embedded into all aspects of delivery
  • There is a fit-for-purpose curriculum to meet employer needs
  • Leading-edge technology is deployed to support blended learning approaches
  • There is a positive, productive resettlement for learners, explicitly building social capital
  • Continuous service improvements take place. The key to this is listening to and acting upon the prisoner/ex-prisoner voice
  • We have the best educational resources and inspirational tutors to have most impact
  • A partnership approach that adds value across the offer is key, so we work with specialists like New Leaf Initiative, the Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET), Develop and Mainstream Training.

Where We Work

We work with all prisons in the East of England to deliver the Offender Learning and Skills Service:

  • Bedford
  • Bure
  • Chelmsford
  • Hollesley Bay
  • Littlehey
  • Norwich
  • The Mount
  • Warren Hill
  • Wayland
  • Whitemoor

We are entering a period of teaching and learning innovation never experienced before in prisons. We are determined that those seeking to use education to help their desistance journey have access to the highest quality learning opportunities through inspiring teachers and great resources

Lorna Poll
Head of Prison Education

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