Neil Frankland from Wymott Prison, Leyland visited the University Centre Wigan & Leigh College to deliver a guest lecture to trainee teachers.
He talked about the role of the Prison Education Service and his experiences of teaching in a category C prison.
The tutor explained that education is central in the rehabilitation of offenders programme. Courses on offer include functional skills (literacy, numeracy and ICT) and vocational courses in areas such as bricklaying, welding, carpentry, joinery and horticulture.
These programmes are designed to improve the inmates’ employment prospects on release and therefore help to reduce the number of repeat offenders.
Neil said: “Learners and future teachers don’t always automatically think about teaching in prisons which is quite a big area. To go into this area they do need to think about their own beliefs before deciding if it’s right for them.”
The trainee teachers studying full time for the Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Certificate in Education were fascinated to find out about an important part of the education sector that gets very little press, but which provides opportunities for rewarding careers in a role that has many proven benefits to society.
Other courses available to prisoners include self-improvement, family and mentoring which are designed to improve interpersonal skills as part of the education and rehabilitation programme.
Neil, who was a former disability nurse, has worked at Wymott for over six years. He also provided insight into behaviour management, access to resources and the philosophy and purpose of prison education.
The teacher trainees had many questions about the reality of prison work and the strategies for managing behaviour in the prison environment.
Neil provided examples of how to build rapport with prisoners and the value of his work to the life chances of the inmates he works with.
Student rep, Danielle Whittle said: “Neil provided a very insightful session into prison education. He was informative, engaging and approachable. It was useful to understand alternative career pathways into teaching.”
Some of the students were particularly keen to take Neil up on his offer of future placements and to explore potential future career pathways in the prison education sector.