Inside Learning: Talking Prison Education

Each month we will speak to different voices from across the prison education sector, covering topics such as arts and enrichment, employment, neurodiversity and what it’s like to work in the sector. 


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Episode One: Building a Prison Education Service for the 21st century

Prison education changes lives, but doesn’t always get the profile or political attention it deserves. In the first episode of this new podcast, recorded at the Moving On Conference 2022, host Steve Exley speaks to big names across the sector about why offender learning matters, what the future holds for the sector and what changes they would like to see. Featuring John Thornhill from the LTE Group, Ed Dorrell from Public First, Naomi Clayton from the Learning and Work Institute, Jon Collins from the Prisoners’ Education Trust, Annick Platt from Novus, Shane Chowen from FE Week, Andrea Hadley-Johnson from the National Justice Museum and Phil Wheatley, former director general of HM Prison Service

Episode Two: Routes from prison into the hospitality industry, with Fred Sirieix, Simon Sheehan and Peter Brammall

Fred Sirieix may be best known as host of TV shows such as First Dates, but his real passion is for prison education. He founded The Right Course charity to create realistic, industry-standard restaurants in prisons to support offenders in pursuing a career in the hospitality industry at the end of their sentence. Here, he joins The Right Course’s chief executive Simon Sheehan and Peter Brammall, deputy managing director of Novus, to talk about his experience of working with prisoners, his ambitions – and the challenges ahead.

Episode Three - Tackling the prison recruitment crisis, with Natasha Porter and Annick Platt

In the current labour market, recruitment is difficult. Vacancies have started to drop after the post-pandemic job boom, but employers are still struggling to hire. Employment rates have, at best, flatlined since last summer. The justice sector is one of the worst affected areas, with the leaving rate of prison officers reaching a new all-time high of 15.3% earlier this year. What can be done to make working in prisons a more visible and attractive career path? Natasha Porter, founder and CEO of Unlocked Graduates, and Novus’ director of operations Annick Platt join host Steve Exley to discuss the challenges ahead – and what can be done to overcome them.

Episode Four - Arts and enrichment – and why they add value and impact to prison education

When discussing reducing reoffending and supporting prisoners into work, the important role played by the arts in prisons rarely gets a mention. But this often-overlooked area can offer a valuable means of enabling prisoners to engage with education, many for the first time, as well as providing routes into employment in this thriving sector. Novus’ Sarah Hartley joins Andrea Hadley-Johnson from the National Justice Museum and Hollie Smith-Charles from Arts Council England to discuss how creativity can enrich the lives of prisoners and offer an access point to learning.