X Close

IOE Blog


Expert opinion from IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society


Now we can say something about prisoners’ basic skills levels

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 10 November 2015

Brian Creese, NRDC & CECJS
I know it is difficult for some of us educationalists to admit this, but Michael Gove’s arrival at the Ministry of Justice has been a breath of fresh air. He has already instigated a review into education in prisons and its links with rehabilitation, led by Dame Sally Coates and seems ready to examine alternatives to the current policies of high incarceration.
My own contribution to the Coates Review will be my recently completed report on prisoners’ literacy and numeracy levels. In my view, this information is much needed. The last survey of prisoners’ basic skills was 15 years ago, and the comparisons with the general population were flawed. This incorrect and out of date understanding of prisoners’ skills, together with the press’s desire to discuss adult literacy levels in terms of reading ages, has dominated discourse in this area for too long.
So, we decided it was time to take a fresh view. You can download our report, “An assessment of the English and maths skills levels of prisoners in England”, here. (more…)