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Qualifications: Prisoners

Volume 474: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many prisoners gained an (a) academic and (b) vocational qualification in each year since 1992. (191211)

Data on qualifications are set out in the following annexes. Data are labelled as academic and vocational, but some data are a mix of the two.

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and its predecessors has been responsible for policy on offender learning and skills since 2001, with responsibility prior to then resting with the Home Office. Since the creation of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and the Department for Children, Schools and Families in 2007, responsibility has been split, with this Department taking the lead on offenders aged 18 and over.

In England the Learning and Skills Council has been responsible for planning and funding offender learning through the Offender Learning and Skills Service since August 2005. This was introduced through a phased transition starting in three regions. As the period covered by the question includes the transition to these new arrangements, data collection has been from a variety of sources and therefore taken some time. Further information about the changes to the delivery arrangements is set out in the Annex D.

Annex A

LSC OLASS data

Adult Skills for Life qualifications for the period August 2005 to July 2006: (Offender Learning and Skills Service Development Regions only: south-west, north-west and north-east):

Skills for Life (academic qualifications)

Number

Entry level

1,975

Level 1

8,309

Level 2

1,018

Total

11,302

Adult achievements in ‘All Remaining Provision’ for the period August 2005 to July 2006: (development regions only):

All remaining provision (a mix of academic and vocational qualifications)

Number

Entry and level 1

2,391

Level 2

3,791

Level 3

112

Other

6,703

Adult Skills for Life qualifications for the period August 2006 to July 2007:

Skills for Life (academic qualifications)

Number

Pre-entry level

161

Entry level 1

3,005

Entry level 2

4,376

Entry level 3

7,188

Level 1

17,512

Level 2

10,650

Total

42,892

Adult achievements in ‘All Remaining Provision’ for the period August 2006 to July 2007:

All remaining provision (a mix of academic and vocational qualifications)

Number

Below level 1

10,851

Level 1

55,048

Level 2

28,956

Above level 2

2,848

Other provision not covered in above

9,127

Total

106,830

Through OLASS, (GCSEs are now reported separately and the following have been recorded from 1 April 2007 to 30 September 2007:

GCSE—AS/A-level achievements (academic qualifications)

Maths

English

Other

Total

AS/A level

0

0

18

18

GCSE A*-C

18

29

307

354

GCSE below C

91

56

162

309

Total

109

85

487

681

Annex B

Data from Her Majesty's Prison Service

The Prison Service data on GCSEs and AS/A level achievements by offenders in custody since 1 April 2007 to 30 September 2007 reflects only the GCSEs delivered by the establishments and not those examinations taken by young people in custody, on transfer from schools. In this case the school which has registered the young person will record the qualification.

The Prison Service estate reported 118 GCSEs and one AS/A level achievements by offenders in custody since 1 April 2007 to 30 September 2007.

Prior to OLASS, Her Majesty's Prison Service annual reports and the Prison Service Information for Managers Online (PSIMOn) data collection system recorded the following number of achievements:

Basic skills (academic qualifications)

April to March

Entry level

Level 1

Level 2

Total

2000-01

12,764

12,764

2001-02

16,133

16,133

2002-03

9,179

16,989

15,145

41,313

2003-04

12,529

17,864

13,338

43,731

2004-05

20,372

23,816

14,759

58,947

2005-061

15,808

20,090

12,381

48,279

2006-072

5,355

6,724

4,233

16,312

1 The figures in 2005-06 are for public prisons only, excluding those who transferred to the LSC as part of the implementation of GLASS In August 2005 (north-east, north-west, south-west, Frankland and Manchester— completions for these prisons are included April to July 2005).

2 The figures for 2006-07 are for all public prisons April to July 06, excluding those who transferred to the LSC as part of the OLASS pilot activity in August 2005. Thereafter, the totals include Welsh public prisons only due to the full transfer of responsibility to the LSC.

Work skills (vocational qualifications)

April to March

Total

2000-01

2001-02

56,320

2002-03

89,201

2003-04

103,583

2004-05

162,966

2005-061

146,053

2006-071

48,198

1 The figures in 2005-06 are for public prisons only, excluding those who transferred to the LSC as part of the implementation of GLASS In August 2005 (north-east, north-west, south-west, Frankland and Manchester—completions for these prisons are included April to July 2005).

2 The figures for 2006-07 are for all public prisons April to July 06, excluding those who transferred to the LSC as part of the OLASS pilot activity in August 2005. Thereafter, the totals include Welsh public prisons only due to the full transfer of responsibility to the LSC.

Contracted Prisons

Basic skills (academic qualifications)

April to March

Entry level

Level 1

Level 2

Total

2006-07

2,024

2,404

1,544

5,972

2005-06

1,895

2,123

1,553

5,571

2004-05

1,977

1,570

1,169

4,716

2003-04

971

1,047

895

2,913

Work skills (vocational qualifications)

April to March

Total

2006-07

16,572

2005-06

10,131

2004-05

7,674

2003-04

5,654

Annex C

Data from the Open University

Open University (OU) courses open to prisoners are agreed by the Offenders Learning and Skills Unit (OLSU) working in collaboration with the OU and the Prison Service. Where a prisoner does not have sufficient funds to meet their own learning costs, the OLSU will fund an openings course and/or a first course for a prisoner accepted onto a programme of study leading to an undergraduate qualification. OLSU delivers this funding though an administrative arrangement operated on its behalf by the Prisoners Education Trust. The OLSU also meets the additional tutorial costs the OU incurs in delivering local support to prisoners. This latter support, unlike course fee support, can continue into second and subsequent courses leading to a qualification at undergraduate level.

Latest data available from the Open University show the following awards to offenders in custody, in England only:

Open University

Award level

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

Certificate

15

31

34

73

118

134

121

Degree with honours

4

12

13

8

12

16

14

Degree without honours

1

2

4

2

12

11

7

Diploma

17

12

28

18

20

32

20

Masters

1

0

1

1

2

0

1

Grand total

38

57

80

102

164

193

163

Annex D

It may be helpful to provide some additional background to contextualise the information presented in annexes A to C.

Transfer of responsibility for planning and funding offender learning provision to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) from HM Prison Service was carried out in two stages. The LSC took responsibility for delivery in three development regions from July 2005, with HM Prison Service retaining responsibility in the remaining regions. Having trialled the new delivery arrangement in those three regions, the new service was implemented across England as a whole on 31 July 2006.

The following illustrates the changes and their timing:

Responsibility

2005-06

HMPS managed

Development regions1

2006-07

Development regions

LSC managed

2007-08

(OLASS)

1 Development regions—north-east, north-west, south-west