Our Story

Our work in prison education goes back almost 30 years, however as part of LTE Group, our shared origins with our sister organisations in the Group, working in education, can be traced back even further. 

It is a story that started almost 200 years ago to the very start of Sunday school education and the foundation of St. John’s Sunday School in Manchester. And we’ve been progressive thinkers and innovators in education ever since.  

By 1921, the organisation was running a continuation school on Byron Street, one of the first in England in the old school premises at St. John’s Parish. By the 1950s, we were pioneering the way in technical education, with hundreds of young civil servants and post offices workers attending St John’s, and Openshaw Technical College opening its doors for the first time.  

To meet the ever-changing needs of the educational community, Openshaw and St. John’s were soon merging to form The Central College Manchester, and later, The Manchester College of Arts (MANCAT).   

Over in South Manchester, Fielden Park, Arden and Wythenshawe were merging to eventually form City College Manchester. 

This is where Novus’s story really begins.

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City College Manchester begins working with local authorities and national government to provide quality education and training at HMP Manchester. Over the following years, City College Manchester provision is extended to prisons across Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cheshire and West Yorkshire. 


Awarded our first Private Prison contract with Group 4 (later to become G4S) to deliver learning and skills.


City College Manchester successfully secures a contract with HMPPS, which sees it expand its delivery to 22 prisons across the North West, Yorkshire and Midlands.


Begin delivering education, training and employment services to offenders in the community in partnership with Probation and Youth Offending Teams.


City College Manchester secures the new government Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) 1 contract that is being trialled in Greater Manchester and Cheshire for adult prisons. 


City College Manchester continues to expand its delivery in prisons with the national roll out of the Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) 2 contract across Yorkshire and West and East Midlands. 


City College Manchester merges with the Manchester College of Arts to create The Manchester College, providing a diverse and inclusive educational offering that includes further and higher education, professional qualifications, apprenticeships, and adult and youth provision in custody.


Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) 3 contract secured by The Manchester College growing its footprint across England with provision extended to North East and South East.


Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) 4 contract secured by The Manchester College for North West, North East, Kent and Sussex, and Yorkshire and Lincolnshire regions.


Continued expansion of our offender learning and skills provision with new contracts to deliver education in three out of four Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) in England, and OLASS provision across London prisons.


Novus is created, bringing together The Manchester College’s criminal justice provision for adults, young people and children in custody and in the community under a single, dedicated entity for simplicity and transparency. Its mission: to create foundations for change.


The LTE Group is created, bringing Novus, The Manchester College and sister organisations UCEN Manchester, MOL and Total People together as the first integrated education and skills group of its kind.  A social (not-for-profit) enterprise, the Group’s mission is to improve lives and economic success.


Novus and Coleg Cambria partner to create Novus Cambria, a joint venture to deliver learning and skills at HMP Berwyn in line with HMPPS in Wales strategy.


Novus is selected as the nominated learning and skills provider for 7 Lots of English prisons under the Ministry of Justice’s Prison Education Framework, developed in response to the influential Coates Review of Prison Education.


Novus continues its mission to create foundations for change, working in partnership with government, communities and local business partners to equip, enable and encourage men, women and young people of all backgrounds in custody and in the community to build positive futures.


Novus is selected to retain the learning and skills provision for two Youth Estate prisons, HMYOI Wetherby and HMYOI Cookham Wood. Novus and Gower College, Swansea create Novus Gower joint venture at HMP Parc.


Novus have been selected to provide learning and skills provison at the private prison HMP Lowdham Grange, through our Novus Transforming Lives brand. We have also retained the provision at HMP Altcourse and HMP Berwyn (in partnership with Coleg Cambria).