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New homework club helps learners and their families

HMP Hull held their first Homework Club last month and it proved to be a resounding success with the men, their partners and their children.

Matthew Zawodny, Deputy Manager at HMP Hull, said: “The prison have been running a monthly family day for a while now and as a team we wanted to see how we could embed education into the day. The homework club proved to be a perfect solution.”

The Novus education team worked hard with the prison, Sarah Hartley (Novus Operational Lead for Families) and the local Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) in Hull, to put together a programme that would be beneficial and engaging for both the men and their families.

Matthew added: “Many of the men were worried that they wouldn’t be able to help their children with their homework. We have a maths and English tutor at the club who are able to offer support, in a discreet way, to the families, and the men now feel more confident.

“We deal with a number of disadvantaged families so we felt it was important to work with the local PRU to make sure we always have homework available for any families who don’t bring any with them, to make sure everyone can engage in all the activities while they are with us.”

The club starts with breakfast, giving the family some social time together. The men cook the food just before their families arrive, then the men and their children work together taking orders, plating up and serving the food. This also gives their partners an opportunity to have a brew and a chat with each other. After breakfast its homework time and Matthew and his team have created an environment to make sure the children feel at ease. The club ends with a craft session, which saw the children making Christmas cards and advent calendars with their dads last month.

The men really appreciated the time they spent with their children, and as for the children, their feedback was “I want to do it every week!” The families are already looking forward to the next session in January.

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