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Higher Education: Prisoners

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 24 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much of the budget allocated for spending on higher education in prisons was used to fund the tutorial costs of those students already engaged in courses of higher study in the latest period for which figures are available. (196548)

Aside from the Offenders’ Learning and Skills Unit’s arrangement to support Open University study, there is no budget allocated for spending on higher education in prisons, or for those prisoners released on temporary licence to study full time higher education.

The Department set aside a budget of £287,000 in 2007-08 to meet the additional costs of providing tutorial support for prisoners studying Open University courses. The Open University operates a fee waiver arrangement for prisoners studying second and subsequent course modules; and my Department supports this by meeting the Open University’s additional costs in providing tutorial support while the learner remains a prisoner.

The Learning and Skills Council’s provider of learning and skills for prisoners also provides informal, practical support for Open University and other higher education students who are prisoners as they continue their studies.