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Prisoners: Literacy

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 22565, tabled on 21 June 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the quality of literacy education in prisons.

Answered on

29 June 2022

The Prisons Strategy White Paper sets out the government’s ambition to equip all prisoners with the literacy skills they need to get jobs on release. To support this, HMPPS has introduced new performance measures for English and maths and we are holding Governors to account for improving the teaching of reading in their prisons.

The joint report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons and Ofsted on Prison education: a review of reading education in prisons highlighted the need to improve literacy education in prisons. To address its recommendations, we will review the current mechanisms for assessing and recording the levels of prisoners’ reading; improve the curriculum guidance given to governors to ensure they prioritise the teaching of reading and review teacher capability to ensure that all providers have staff who are properly qualified to teach reading.

We are also planning to develop a Literacy Innovation Scheme to encourage new providers to work with us to trial new approaches to teaching reading with the aim of driving up quality and improving outcomes across the estate.