Graduation Success at HMP Littlehey
January ’24 saw three inmates graduate from the Open University (OU) with BA Honours Degrees and a further six men celebrate milestone qualifications on route to their Honours Degrees.
Studying with the Open University since 2018 and achieving their qualifications in late 2023, HMP Littlehey, PeoplePlus and the Open University were proud to organise a graduation ceremony for the men where they officially graduated, receiving their certificates from the OU. Friends and family were also invited into the prison to celebrate their achievements.
PeoplePlus’ Education Manager, Carrie and Induction & Distance Learning Coordinator, Jayne played a key part in helping the men achieve their qualifications, facilitating their interaction with the OU, aiding them to submit course work, putting resources on the prisoner learning system, liaising with the OU and arranging telephone and face to face teaching sessions for the men.
The OU is the biggest university in the UK, awarding over 10,000 degrees a year, with over 208,000 students on their books at any one time. There are a number of prisons across the UK who facilitate their prisoners to have the opportunity to study with the OU and every year a handful of prisoners actually achieve this remarkable achievement. There are approximately 60 men studying through the OU at HMP Littlehey and this is the first graduation ceremony to be held at the prison.
The graduation ceremony saw Lynn Scott, Regional Manager and Paige Cuff Director of Student Support at the OU come into HMP Littlehey to conduct the graduation ceremony. In the presentation of the Awards Cuff commended the men on their “unprecedented commitment to study” referencing the challenges faced not only during the C19 lockdown period, but within the prison environment itself, making their success “even more impressive.”
Acting Deputy Governor Jody Williams said “This is an extraordinary day for all of us – everyone has worked exceptionally hard to get to this day and it truly demonstrates how these men have strived to fulfil their goals. Education really is the passport to the future.”
Prisoner John, who graduated with a First-Class Honours degree (BA) in Arts and Humanities, with three distinctions shared with the group his own personal journey of alcohol addiction and limited education, prior to going to prison. He expressed as someone who left school at 15 with no qualifications, how studying for firstly his GCSEs and then a degree in prison had given him ‘life skills, structure, determination, drive and confidence,’ observing that “it is never too late to make positive decisions in life” Thanking his family, the staff at HMP Littlehey, and the education team at PeoplePlus. He said of Jayne:
“I am very grateful for Jane – she has made study a comfortable and welcoming environment, she has kept things running behind the scenes and she never stops. She is now supporting my study for my Masters Degree in Psychology and Counselling, which I hope to use in order to help others who may have been in a similar position to me.”
The ceremony saw two other men graduate with a BA (Hons) in Business Management and a BA (Hons) open Degree, both achieving distinctions in some of their modules.
The ceremony was a fantastic opportunity to share success, reflecting not only upon the remarkable achievements of the men, but the collective efforts and commitment of the team at HMP Littlehey and PeoplePlus.