Event to build the aspirational prison
The second annual Prisoner Learning Alliance (PLA) conference, entitled ‘The Aspirational Prison: Achieving Excellence through Engagement and Progression', will take place from 10am to 4.30pm in the University’s city centre Calverley Building.
The aim of the annual conference, which will be attended by prison staff, teachers, education managers, Heads of Learning and Skills and organisations delivering learning programmes in prisons, is to share good practice and offer opportunities for networking. The achievements of prison teachers, officers and mentors will also be celebrated through the first PLA awards.
The Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, will give a keynote speech on aspiration. He will also present the PLA awards to individuals who have been nominated by prisoner learners for going above and beyond in their work.
This will be followed by a series of interactive ‘good practice’ workshops, which will showcase innovative projects and promising approaches to engagement and progression in learning, with a focus on what it is that changes people. This will feed into a new project lead by the PLA which involves developing a ‘theory of change’ for the whole prison education system.
Helen Nichols, Co-leader of the Prison Research Network at Leeds Beckett University, explained: “The conference is centred around the idea of what changes people, focusing on education. Indicators of change in prisoners, such as personality, identity and their attitude towards society are very hard to measure. As part of the workshop that I will be introducing with my colleague and Co-leader of the Prison Research Network, Dr Bill Davies, we will run an exercise which gets people to think about how we measure the things that can identify change.”
The PLA will ask attendees to reflect on the how the sector can improve its impact through both practice and policy.
In a session chaired by Eric Allison, Prison Correspondent for the Guardian, there will be the chance to hear from former prisoner learners about their experiences in using education to turn their lives around and to find out what prisoner education is for.
Other sessions will tackle topics such as peer mentoring, communication skills, literacy and numeracy, creating safe spaces to learn, using technology for blended learning, developing a learning culture, and progression to employment or self-employment.
For more information about the event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Prison Research Network at Leeds Beckett University was launched in May this year, to bring together a community interested in the social impact of imprisonment and the challenges facing former prisoners and their families.