20 September 2022

Fife College will continue to deliver learning in Scottish Prison Service facilities throughout Scotland in 2022/23.

Providing educational opportunities in the country’s prisons since the late 1990s in several facilities, the College became the first national provider of the learning and skills contract for the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) in 2017.

Since the start of the partnership, the College has supported thousands of learners in the thirteen SPS-managed prisons in Scotland.

In the past twelve months, over 100 dedicated staff have continued to work on-site, providing teaching and learning to an average of around 7,600 learners a month, across thirteen Fife College Learning Centres, supporting them to reach their education goals.  

Despite the challenges of the last year, including the tail end of the pandemic, staff at the Learning Centres delivered over 155,000 hours of classroom-based learning. Over 2,000 learners also received one-to-one, or two-to-one, specific support with literacy or numeracy in the last twelve months.

Other recent achievements of the partnership, which were recently highlighted in the Learning and Skills (SPS) Annual Report 2021/22, include the recognition of efforts by prison-based learning staff to find creative solutions to the challenges presented by the pandemic.

Staff picked up the Health and Wellbeing award at last year’s College Development Network Awards for their ‘in-cell learning in lockdown’ initiative which saw the creation and distribution of over 32,000 learner packs, 400 DVDs and podcasts utilising in-cell radio and TV, supporting the mental and physical health and wellbeing of learners.

Audrey Mitchell, Director, Learning and Skills Services (SPS) at Fife College, said:

“Fife College is proud to be the first national provider of the learning and skills contract for the Scottish Prison Service.

“We are also incredibly proud of what our learners and staff have achieved in the past year, particularly given the challenging pandemic landscape.

“Overcoming the challenges presented by lockdowns, with no internet provision within custodial environments, was a significant task for us.

“However, thanks to the tenacity and innovation of our prison-based learning teams, and with the support of the Scottish Prison Service, we were able to implement a unique, student-centred delivery model, enabling the continuation of positive learning experiences during the pandemic.

“We look forward to the sixth year of working together with the Scottish Prison Service to deliver learning and skills in our prison learning centres.”

Drew Jardine, SPS Learning and Employability Policy Manager, said:

“Across the SPS estate, Fife College has continued to support the SPS in the delivery of a learning provision that, at its heart, engages, supports, motivates and develops the people in our care.

"This annual report showcases the range and depth of that support. In addition, it highlights what has been key throughout the pandemic, the positive and influential relationships between Fife College teams, SPS and the people in our care.”