This episode is a recording of the launch of the Prison Education review of reading education in prisons, with Amanda Spielman HMCI and Charlie Taylor HMIP and a panel discussion followed by questions. The event was held in March 2022 in London.

 

AS: Amanda Spielman

CT: Charlie Taylor

SC: Sally Coates

BM: Bridget McKeown

FC: Francesca Cooney

LJS: Louise Johns-Shepherd

KG: Kelly Gleeson

KGO: Kirsty Godfrey

 

Welcome to Ofsted talks. This podcast was recorded live at Ofsted and HMIP’s joint launch of ‘Prison education, a review of reading education in prisons’, which took place on the 22nd of March.

 

AS: I want to thank everybody who's worked on the report. It's a joint effort between emotionally spiritually HMIPrisons and Ofsted many, many experts have been involved with, drawing on people who've gone before - I'll talk about you in a moment, Sally. But it's a phenomenal piece of work. I'm so happy that it's come together in this sort of very clear and I think, urgent way. That's really a very important push [that] a huge proportion of prisoners need and aren't getting, and that there are very obvious and clear ways to make it so much better than it is today. I've got the pleasure of introducing Dame Sally Coates who in 2016, published her independent review of education in prisons, it made a strong case for putting education at the very centre of the prison regime, and for making prison governors accountable for and able to choose the education that best meets prisoners needs. But since then, there's frankly been little improvement, I think, in the quality of prison education. And the pandemic has undoubtedly contributed to making it worse. But I think it would be valuable to have this panel discussion because I think drawing on the experts in this panel, and this audience helps us exert the right, the right pressure, the right push in the right places. Sally is now of course director of secondary academies at United learning, as well as being patron of the National Citizen Service Trust. Thank you for agreeing to chair this panel.

 

SC:   

As Amanda says, my day job is running academies up and down the country for the biggest multi Academy trust in our country. So I'm responsible for about 60 secondary schools so my passion is education. And when the Secretary of State at the time Michael Gove asked me to lead review of education in prisons, I had never stepped into prison, I knew very little about prison, people just don't know what goes on in prison, unless they work in a prison or indeed or unfortunate enough to go into a prison. I like to review with a very expert panel and Natasha, who's here, was actually on the panel. But I think both Natasha and I knew very little about prison education when I when I started the review. And it was a real eye opener, going into prisons and going to classrooms, particularly as I'd been in classrooms for most of my working life, either as a teacher, or indeed, running schools. I saw very little good education, I did see some, we did see some, but we saw very little, and most of the classes we saw would probably inadequate if indeed, in mainstream education. And it was a very depressing experience. We went into 10s of prisons up and down the country went into female estate, the male estate. The review, was published in 2016. And we made a whole series of recommendations, all of which were accepted by the government at the time. And to be here, six years later, reading this report, which I read, you know, I'm really, I think it's a really good thing that this report has been commissioned. And I read the report with great interest. But I also read it with frustration, disappointment, and in some ways, anger, that we are still talking about the same things that I was talking about in 2016. Some things have changed, governors do have more accountability, and what happens in classrooms, particularly around literacy, which we know is so important, that very little has indeed changed. And I do hope that today, we have a discussion, and we take some of the recommendations that have been put forward by this report that something actually happens. We need some action now. Otherwise, in six years’ time, we'll be sitting here again, hearing yet another report and saying again, nothing's changed. So I'm going to open the discussion, but first of all, I'm going to ask the panel to introduce themselves.

 

Hello, I'm Bridget McKeown. I'm the Library Manager at HMP Manchester.

 

SC: Thanks Bridget Francesca.

 

FC: Hi. I'm Professor Cooney and I'm the head of policy at the prisons Education Trust. And we also call in the prisoner Learning Alliance.

 

CT: Charlie Taylor, Chief Inspector of Prisons.

 

AS: Amanda Spielman, chief inspector at Ofsted.

 

LJS: Louise Johns-Sheppard, I'm the Chief Executive of the Centre for literacy in primary education but co-authored the report with Kirsty

 

KG: Kelly Gleeson administrator for the building futures team with the prison reform with lived experience of prison.

 

SC: hanks very much. So I think I'm going to start by asking Kelly as you have had a lived experience of prison, what your experience of reading and and literacy was in President What is it really like?

 

KG: It's, it's really bad. Sadly, I've actually been to prison four times, since 2010. Never again, it's really bad that the wages for education a pound, but you can go into a job in two pounds, 22 pound 50. As a mother, and I know for the women as well that were movers or wanting to keep the contact with the family phone credit is so expensive, people need to buy toiletries, etc. So they will go into them jobs and avoid the education side of it just because it doesn't pay well, they can't keep in contact with the family even more. So if you can't read and write you need that phone credit, you know, because you've taken away that the written contact to your children or your family. It's been the same all the way through. I mean, I've kind of done a tour of the country with women's prisons. And it's been the same since I've since 2010. education classrooms are chaotic. You've got some really, really complex women in the women's estate that have been through such traumatic experiences, adverse childhood experiences, in a classroom with one tutor that can't manage, you know, can't manage a classroom of all these people. There's not enough support. There's not enough one to one, there's not stuff for that. So it's a bit of a mess, if I'm honest.

 

SC: Okay, thank you very much. And Bridget, would you like to comment on that, because obviously, in from the perspective of libraries, and how they work within prisons,

 

BM: We're quite lucky in our library, and I don't want us to be the lucky library, I want us to be the library that everybody sort of aspires to be, because we have a dedicated officer. And that isn't the case across many of the prisons, I think we're one of the few that have a dedicated official, what that means is that we have somebody who can support us with Shannon trust, we have somebody who can support us with any groups that we want to run. We've got somebody who supports us directly if we bring people in to do activities, because they're there, and they can go and get the people that the demand because it's a men's prison, and bring them to the library and take them back. And where that falls down, unfortunately, is the regime is stuffing is the priority that library is given within the within the prisons, it can be. And for me, you say you're passionate about education? Absolutely. I'm passionate about reading about reading for pleasure. I've got a seven year old grandson who's learning to read and he's probably at a similar age to reading level to some of the people that I'm working with. How are these people functioning in daily life, if we want people to come out of prison and have opportunities and be better, and change their life around if they're coming out with the same skills, failing them? It's absolutely failing them.

 

SC: And I think Natasha, remember, we went to Grendon prison. And I sat in with the rest of my power couple of people, my panel, and about 60 men came here all sat around the outside of the room, and one by one went round and introduced themselves. And almost all of them had had very expensive education when they were at school. And one man, I'll never forget, I'd been in prison for 40 years, and I still can't read. I mean, absolutely shocking. I was just stunned by that. 40 years in prison, and he still can't read. And as we know, many people in prison come from traveller background or come from, you know, disadvantaged homes where they have dropped out of education for one reason or another or being permanently excluded. And then they get into the youth justice, and then the prison education prison system. And it's just continues, and then they come out and obviously reoffend because they have no skills to do anything else. So Charlie, perhaps you have, you could let me know why the barriers, why is nothing changing?

 

CT: I think it's a huge concern. I come from education background as well used to be a head teacher of a special school. So I came into this world with a huge interest in education. Whenever I whenever I meet a person, I always ask them about their education experience, what it was like for them at school. And so many of them for whatever reason, fell out of education, some were never in school at all. Some were kicked out of school, usually in about year seven or eight, and never got back into any sort of meaningful education again. I think the reason why progress hasn't been made is because it hasn't been a priority. And I think there has always been a temptation within the prison service to focus in on things that are incredibly important, but nevertheless, to the exclusion of other things. So the focus on security, the focus on stopping stuff, getting into prisons, stopping violence, and stopping and stopping prisoners escaping, those things are all incredibly important. But that has been at the detriment of learning to read and pushing the quality of education. I also think that is an accountability issue, because governors are not accountable for the quality of education in their prison, in the same way that we as head teachers absolutely would be. And therefore, because there's an accountability gap, it's something simply that governors do not lose sleep over. They don't get judged on how good the education is on their prison, that the provider gets judged on that the prison service doesn't make the quality of education a priority for it, when it's judging the success of the governor. And therefore, until we get to a stage where governors and leadership within education, are responsible for the quality information, I think it will be hard to make progress.

 

SC: So I'll be asking the panel wants to comment on that. Francesca?

 

FC: Yeah, I mean, I absolutely agree that prison education is not a big enough priority, and it's really noticeable. But in the white paper, there are financial commitments to security aspects of prisons, but there aren't clear financial commitments to how much more resource is going to go into education, if at all. And he and I would say the other thing that really comes out of the report is how contracts are getting in the way of delivery contracts are not enabling good delivery of prison education. And that really needs to be locked up.

 

AS: Yes, I've visited one prison where the contract was very clearly get directly getting in the way of confusion, a bit of intellectual confusion, I think about the education that's needed. I think, in the in the new approach to functional skills, and the new qualifications is actually a recognition and built and built into the lowest levels, the entry level qualifications, the need, actually to teach, teach reading from the very, very basics. I think functional skills qualifications, as they get used in practice, often sort of tend to miss out that better and be and the teaching becomes more about making the best of what reading skills you've got in the real world, but not addressing the problem. That means that the even that at level one is more than half the prison population can cope with. So I think I think we've got to get that understanding more deeply through all the people who are who are responsible here. I also think that the incentives that you took talk about Kelly, some of those seem like very quick fixes. I can see there, there are many difficulties with staffing that make things hard, but not that hard, but not insuperable. But things like differential pay, right pay rates, need no extra staffing, and they should be remarkably simple and straight and straightforward to implement, there should be no disincentive for prisoners to take part in to take part in education. And it should be a fundamental principle.

 

FC: They're just going to pick up on a couple of those barriers. One is around the what Amanda was saying about the curriculum, driving functional skills driving the curriculum, and therefore being focused on something that isn't necessarily right for the vast majority of people in the classrooms, which is, you know, has not not changed. But I but I also think there is an issue around the skills of the staff who were in those, those classrooms, not that they're their teaching skills, but their their subject knowledge and the pedagogical knowledge. And, and again, like, like mentors, it's not about the prison regime. But some clear training, when 50% of the people who are coming through your classrooms cannot read at a functional skills level, then those teachers need to have some training around the subject knowledge and the pedagogical content that enables them to teach reading. And at the moment, they don't end with the best will in the world. We saw teachers in classrooms that entry level three, so the lowest that they the lowest level of possible entry, who had come from hairdressing or carpentry. And it's that thing of putting somebody into teach those prisoners in their classroom, there's no way they can have that, that subject knowledge. But that commitment to teaching would be a really, really important thing, I think, and is currently a barrier. And the other thing I think is about seeing reading and its widest purpose, because these are adults who we can't force to necessarily engage with reading a book, every prison we went to, we asked the question to people who weren't engaging, or we asked a question to the staff, why do you think people don't engage, and they talked about the stigma, the stigma of not being able to read, and that's why they didn't engage. But all a lot of those people have family context that they do want to engage with their children. They have, they have legal things that they want to look at, they need to read their menus and those kinds of things. So giving the importance of reading really, really high profile in the prison, removes that stigma to a certain extent and says everybody's working towards this. Everybody's working towards it. So it's important.

 

AS: Yeah, thank you. I can't imagine being locked up in yourself 23 hours a day and we're not having access to a book or not being able to read a book even if I had one. Kirsty Godfrey, who's going to give an overview of the findings of the report. Thank you, Kirsty.

 

KGO: Thank you, Amanda. So I'm Kirsty Godfrey, one of her majesty's inspectors. And yes, I've visited all of the prisons as part of this research project. And today I'm just going to share with you some of the main findings. So in terms of background in particular, our research aim to find out how prisoners reading is assessed the provision which is in place to improve their reading, and how much progress prisoners make. We carried out research in six prisons, and the visits involved discussion with prison leaders, leaders in the education departments, teachers, librarians, and prisoners. We also visited classrooms when there was English education taking place. Our research showed that prisons do not give do priority to improving prisoners reading, and that those with the greatest need often receive the least support. There's little opportunity for prisoners to learn to read. And so as well as missing out on the benefits of reading in prison, many will be denied the opportunity to learn the essential skills they need to resettle in the community. We identified some systemic barriers preventing prisoners from receiving effective support to acquire or improve their reading skills. So I'm now going to highlight some of those barriers. First, we found that reading education is not given sufficient priority in the prison regime. Reading is not a distinct part of that core education offer. The importance of learning to read or improving prisoners reading is all too often overshadowed by a focus on acquiring qualifications. Meeting contractual obligations around enrollment on courses and passing of qualifications prevents education leaders from prioritising, making sure that all prisoners learn to read while gaining a level one qualification was often a name for education departments, as this is a requirement for much prison employment. This results in some of the entry level courses not been considered a priority. Even though those entry level courses, which are suitable for non readers or those that are in the early stages of learning to read, meet the needs of as much as half of the prison population. Early Reading provision then often relied on Shannon trust, a voluntary organisation that trains prisoners to mentor fellow prisoners who are learning to read and following COVID-19 in the restrictions, the Shannon trust programme was much slower to be reintroduced than English functional skills courses that took place in the education departments. Also in the prisons, we visited systems to assess prisoners reading ability and identify the reading needs and implement solutions to monitor progress were largely absent. Information on the progress that learners were making while learning to read was extremely limited. And this was one of the key areas that we aim to carry out research on. Yet the lack of information recorded about it meant that we couldn't find out how much progress prisoners were making. Consequently, leaders and education managers did not have the necessary information to even begin to address prisoners reading needs. Our second main finding was that education provision was often not organised in a way that supports prisoners to improve their reading. Very few prisoners, except in one of the prisons visited were receiving any form of English education. As few as 2% of the prison population were enrolled on English courses. The pandemic appears to have exacerbated an existing problem about the time prisoners spend on education. Prisoners were generally not able to attend a combination of both work and education. And with work being paid for more, it often encouraged prisoners to work rather than access education. We also saw limited communication between education departments and libraries. And of course, a closer partnership could have been used to align the library offer with the educational programmes and provide further opportunities for prisoners to practice reading for a range of meaningful purposes. For example, through the story book moms and dads initiatives and others The key finding was that the curriculum was not well designed to improve prisoners reading.

 

The way in which the curriculum was implemented, was not focused on teaching prisoners to read or develop their reading skills. There was also a lack of understanding about the content of the entry level courses for English functional skills. And so education departments, we're not using a reputable structured phonics programme to teach reading. As stated in the subject content for these courses. And field few teaching staff had the subject knowledge and training to know how to teach reading. Course Materials and Resources were often not suitable in teaching adults to read. Teachers made frequent use of text extracts rather than whole books, lessons focused on comprehension, and neglected the basic building blocks necessary for learning to read. This meant there were not enough opportunities to practice and improve reading. And finally, a critical finding, which runs throughout the whole report comes as a result of many of the barriers that I've already stated. And that is that prisoners with the greatest need to improve their reading, generally receive the least support. So we hoped that the publication of this research and the recommendations it makes will bring about significant improvements to the way prisoners gain and improve fundamental reading skills.

 

SC: Thank you. That's terrific Kirsty. Thank you very much. Can I take some questions or any points or comments? Yes, thank you.

 

KG: Hi, I'm Kate green Member of Parliament for Stretford and Urmston. I'm also vice chair of the all party group for Penal Reform. And I particularly wanted to, first of all, say how depressed I actually am at this event. And I very rarely come to events like where reports are being published, where I feel quite so much despair. It's absolutely shocking to hear that the most high need prisoners are not receiving professional teaching, that there's no incentive on either prisons or prisoners to participate in education, and that we have people who are literally a captive market for education, and we can't actually deliver it to them. I find it incredible, actually, that we're in this situation. I wanted to ask two questions, if I may, Sally, first of all, given the propensity of short sentences, what can be achieved? I mean, ideally, I would like to see far fewer prisoners in custody on short sentences but exacting we are where we are, what can be achieved with those prisoners? And secondly, could somebody describe to me the screening process that takes place particularly because I know there's a high incidence of, for example, dyslexia, among the prison population. So it would be really useful to understand how prisons first identify the needs. Before we get into all the depressing stuff we've been hearing about meeting it.

 

 

KG: The things that we thought might work for short for short sentences, where we saw practice that that was helpful was in terms of engaging prisoners with texts and with books and giving them the opportunities to, to use those those texts and books. We didn't see in the visits that we made an assessment that we have prisoners on entry that we thought would help the teachers to teach reading. And we didn't see continuity between prisons. So we talked to several prisoners, who told us that they were doing a qualification that they had already done, because the information about the assessment hadn't passed on. But more than that, that the assessment was so broad, that it didn't actually identify those specific skills or gaps in knowledge that those prisoners had that could have enabled the teaching to happen. If the assessment was right, I think the teaching could be more focused to those people on very, very short sentences.

 

CT: I would I think it's worth just saying that the moment many prisoners are assessed by giving, being given a long form to fill out many page long form to fill up in which they tick the boxes. I think it's question number three on that form is, do you find it difficult filling out forms, I sat in HMP Leicester with a pile of these forms in front of me, just going through them, and at least half of them had ticked the box, I find it difficult to fill out forms, they then had to fill out another whatever it was six or seven pages have formed. So if the assessment isn't dynamic enough, then there isn't really an understanding of so it may be that they got dyslexia, it may be that they've never been exposed to literature. or been taught properly in the past? It may be that they've got learning difficulties, it may be that the English isn't their first language, there are a whole bunch of reasons why people may not be able to read. And until you get a proper diagnostic test in place, you just wait no matter what.

 

Yes, I was gonna say, I think the really important point here is this, this very large slice the prison population has, essentially they've all experienced reading failure, they've virtually all been through primary school, at least, without succeeding in learning to read. So whatever particular sort of learning difficulties you might be able to label with them with, they've all essentially got this huge discouragement and the need for something that is very well structured, systematic takes them into small steps, that minimises of clutter and redundancy that focuses on that on the core job of teaching, reading in the simplest, clearest possible way to maximise the chance of experiencing that feeling of making progress. And getting towards being able to be being able to read well. And that need is fundamentally the same for pretty much every kind of reading difficulty there out there answer 17 different ways to teach men or women to read, depending on exactly what the label is. So concentrating on getting that core quality and having trained training training people to be competent to teach, that is the thing that could make the most difference for the greatest number in the shortest time.

 

BM: Can I just say we, I mean, within the prison, within many prisons, I'm going to notice somebody here from the Shannon trust, there is a reading programme from the children trust, which is a very, very comprehensive programme that, that you work through the thing. The thing with that is it and it's wonderful, please don't think that I'm saying it's not his again, it's the priority of it. It's a voluntary organisation, it is a charity. And although they do have a seat at the table here and H NPPs. It's not being pushed from the front, from the from the SLP. From the governors, it again falls down in that priority, but in answer to question directly within the shadow trust and the reading programme, even somebody on a short sentence that wants one at the expected is 2020 minutes a day, five days at five, five sessions a week, if they have that they can make really, really good progress.

 

Ian Merrill, Shannon Trust: Thanks, Sally. Just to build on Bridget's point there. Welcome the report. Thank you for it, I can understand how a lot of the emphasis is going to be on improving mainstream education. But what we wouldn't want to get lost here is the opportunity to scale up peer-led reading programmes that use phonics turning pages as Bridget mentioned, that's my slight concern. The organisation is now ready to scale. I'm sure there are other organisations in the voluntary sector who could do more, it simply requires some pretty modest investment. We know what to do with that investment, we can do a lot more, and we can open the door for a lot more people to mainstream education. It's not either or.

 

KG: So what's happening is that people tend to say in answer to the question, what do you do for for people to help them reading? Oh, Shannon trust? Yeah. And, and so absolutely agree with everything Ian said about scaling up and all of those things, but you can't. You can't use it as an excuse not to do it properly in the mainstream.

 

Sam Duncan: Hi, I'm Sam Duncan from UCL Institute of Education. I'm really happy to hear this report, because this has been my experience for 20 years, that those in prison with the greatest needs are the least well served, to questions stroke kind of comments about how can we push this forward. One thing that I think will make a big difference is not to have group teaching in prisons, which combine entry one, entry two and entry three, this spans a massive range of reading need. Entry. One is where people are really learning to decode to understand the sound symbol relationships, it has the greatest stigma, entry, three people are really brushing up more or less, they have those decoding skills. They're developing fluency, particularly in male prisons, where there's so much violence and prisoners feel so vulnerable, perhaps also female prisons. Having those two groups together mean those with the greatest need, who need to learn the decoding, will not speak up in group sessions, and will hide or act up will get banned from sessions, and they won't, that won't work. So I know it's more expensive dividing them. But if there's any way we can push for that, and I'd be happy to be part of that, I think that's one thing. The second exactly as you've said, there's an issue with the teacher education of people who are teaching and we work on teacher education programmes. It's very difficult. It's difficult to fund having good CPD is very difficult to find, but in my experience, what's been happening over the last 15 years is good adult literacy teachers haven't been able to make a living doing their job. The pay and conditions have meant that they've had to leave the profession. So expertise is lost expertise is haemorrhaged every year. And therefore, the really important thing, as a colleague said before about assessment, you know, knowing how to really assess a need, that takes a lot of expertise. And if if there's not the pay and conditions to allow teachers to build careers as adult literacy specialists to maintain those careers, it's really it's a losing battle. So I know those are very hard things, but those are the two key things I would recommend we really focus on because I think this report is spot on.

 

Matt Hancock: Thank you, Matt Hancock, I'm going to admit something at the start. I was in DFE for two years as the Minister responsible for prison education just before your report came through. And I'm not often shocked anymore. But I've been really shocked by this report today, because absolutely nothing has changed for the better. If you read this report compared to then, and that was eight to 10 years ago. And I know from that experience, that the fact that the responsibility sits both between MOJ and DFE makes it hard to provide leadership right at the top. And so it's wonderful that Ofsted and HMIP have come together because it needs both of you and then both departments to make change happen. I come to this because I've got a campaign for better support for those who are dyslexic, but really ultimately, that's about literacy. So my question is what can we do in terms of actions implementing your report Sally will be a good start, but in particular, in the accountability space, because it seems to me that all of the suggestions that have been put together will only be unlocked if prison governors feel they've got skin in the game and even something as simple as that their rating is determined by the proportion of prisoners who leave their prison illiterate for instance would then have knock on consequences throughout the the system. There is no magic bullet of course, there's a huge number of things the data issue in my local prison, absolutely furious that they never get the data so when they do assessments, the prisoners the first thing that every single prisoner says is I've already done an assessment is Why do I have to bloody well redo it? And that's they blame GDPR I mean, I bought through GDPR it did not stop that. And that can be fixed. So, but my point of that going into that is to say there are huge numbers of small things that need to be fixed. But getting the accountability right surely will help to start or other big things that we should be calling for as well.

 

AS: We are part of the system of prisons, prison inspections, we inspect, and it's educationist with within purposeful activity, part of prison inspection where the findings are consistently until overwhelmingly very, very poor through the entire prison system there in not many prisons that get that get a good on that category. And this has been the case for a long time. And yet, it doesn't seem to exert the pressure that you would that you would expect it to given its value.

 

CT: Absolutely, I think it's a frustration of anybody who's occupied this chair, is going back to prisons, the same prisons again and again. And writing what is often a very similar report when it comes to the concerns that we flag and it's 40 years on since it was first started in its current form. And I dug out the original chief inspectors report. And the second paragraph of it begins by saying there are too many prisoners locked up in their cells for too long with nothing meaningful to do. So to some extent. Some of the frustrations back then have not changed in any way. And and it is as Matt says that prioritisation of of prisons, the prioritisation of reading in prisons. And the fact is, it's it's not that hard to teach people to read, actually, there are some people who find it more difficult than others. But actually, we know how to teach people to read, we can make progress here. You know, this isn't rocket science, it isn't some unbelievably difficult process. Actually, we do know how to teach people to read, and people can make progress. And, you know, I was really struck by I met a guy in Belmarsh, who, who had just started within three days, it started a 30 year sentence. And he had one thing he had a book that his lawyer had given him. And it was Wild Swans that people may remember by Jung Chang, but it came out, he'd read it three times. And the only way that he was going to get through that sentence was by finding some meaning elsewhere. And being able to think or talk about the cultural revolution, actually was giving him an opportunity to think differently about himself and about the world he was in and make some sense of what he was going to go through for the next 30 years. But if it's not a priority, if it's not something that that governors that presents the prison service focus on, if there is a sense that you can simply oversee Prison Education, with a few giant contracts, and then all you need to do in order to improve things is just turn the dial a little bit on a contract, a fantasy that if we just get the contracts, right, we'll solve the problems with prison education, instead of understanding that actually, it's about the context of individual prisons, it's about having brilliant people like Bridget, who are in prisons and making things work. But actually, as Bridget says, Manchester is extremely lucky having her and she does an amazing job. But if you don't have a Bridget and you don't have a prison who buys in, then progress just isn't made.

 

 

AS: How many more reports and how many more such pieces of research is it going to take to to make the changes? And we've talked a lot about accountability? And when is that actually going to happen? And when are we going to get really impatient, which it feels that we are in this room, and it feels that the people in this room could make the real difference? And have all the know how we have all the know how we also know what we should do and what we ought to be doing? Should we not really push for the doing on it now and and that really feels quite urgent to me. I want  to express a small note of optimism here. And you're absolutely right. But I think one of the things that has changed in the last 20 years is I think our national understanding of how best to teach reading and especially what's most effective for the children who will have the greatest difficulty learning to read has come on in leaps and bonds. And I think the extent to which that is accepted and being built into every primary school in the country. The current incarnation of inspection does that so much better than any previous incarnation. So I think the preventive piece is getting a great deal better, I think we'll see fewer children with these difficulties. And it will be very interesting to see sort of to what extent that flows through into sort of behaviour later in people's school careers. Not all the things that make young people come off the rails. There are there are many young people being taught in it not not just in youth institutions, but in alternative provision in SEND schools as well as mainstream schools. Getting this understanding could really help sort of shift practice and rebalance attention. But we need to make sure that prisons don't stay walled off. From from from, from these these developments, these shifts,

 

CT: I was shocked by some of the stuff we saw going on, the incentives are in the wrong place. The incentives for governors are in the wrong place the incentive to lock unlock prisoners in order, they can get involved in mentoring schemes, the incentives to focus on the importance and progress and educational progress that the prisoners make is in the wrong place. The incentives on providers are in the wrong place. They're focused in on qualifications, as opposed to people actually making progress wherever they are. So there continues to be a big tranche of prisoners who don't get any access to teaching at all. And the incentive for prisoners is in the wrong place, as well as, as Kelly, so eloquently put it, where you're better off, you're better off, and you get better paid, walking around the prison with a wet rag, wiping down sell doors. And there is a greater incentive to do that. Because you get enough money to get through the basics, then there is of going into education, and learning to read. And that, to me is a hugely wasted opportunity. But also the way that assessment works, the assessment isn't thorough enough, it doesn't give a good enough description and understanding of the issues of prisoners, but also the fact that the information doesn't get out. So the fact that the sharing of information between different prisons doesn't happen, and the frustration again and again, that I get from talking to prisoners, who tell me that they've done these tests before they've done this qualification before elsewhere. And yet, they're being asked to go through and do the qualification, again, in a different prison. It costs 45,000 pounds to keep someone in prison for a year, on average. It does seem extraordinary that that that huge cost to the taxpayer, that if someone comes in, unable to read, that they go out, unable to read. So I hope the government takes us seriously. I hope the we can build some impetus and some momentum here, in order that we can begin to really make a difference for that group of prisoners who could do so much better who could get so much more out of the time that they spent in prison.

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