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What to expect - working as a Prison Tutor

Discussion in 'Further Education' started by zakbrown1900, May 4, 2011.

  1. Hi

    A job vacancy has become available which I want to apply for working as a Prison Offender Tutor. Has anyone got any experience working in this area and would be willing to tell me about the pros and cons of this type of work?
     
  2. Hi

    A job vacancy has become available which I want to apply for working as a Prison Offender Tutor. Has anyone got any experience working in this area and would be willing to tell me about the pros and cons of this type of work?
     
  3. Best job I have had in the last two decades tbh! Would say ever but that sounds far too cheesy!
    A lot will depend on the estate and category type. Also possibly the education contractor/college you'll be directly working for.
    There can be bad days, but the good days are amazing.
    You'll need to be adaptable, flexible and think quickly on your feet, in addition to good behaviour management and able to engage often the most disaffected learners you may ever come across.
    Do you have more specific questions?
     


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    Thanks for the quick reply. I have got a background of teaching in FE
    colleges and quite used to working with difficult learners but never
    experienced prison education at all. My main
    area of concern is probably extremely difficult learners (mainly in terms of
    poor behaviour rather than academic ability) and safety? The prison I will be applying to is cat 4
    open so I believe that this will not be as bad as the higher categories but then again perhaps the learners are more trusted so I could be left in a greater danger if something goes wrong. Initially it is hourly paid so I was also
    wondering if there is a good chance of getting a permanent contract with some experience
    (in general)?
     
  5. Thanks for the quick reply. I have got a background of teaching in FE colleges and quite used to working with difficult learners but never experienced prison education at all. My main area of concern is probably extremely difficult learners (mainly in terms of poor behaviour rather than academic ability) and safety? The prison I will be applying to is cat 4 open so I believe that this will not be as bad as the higher categories. Initially it is hourly paid so I was also wondering if there is a good chance of getting a permanent contract with some experience (in general)?
     
  6. If you have a FE background, you'll more than cope no doubt with the academic/educational side!
    Difficult learners behaviour wise..... yes it will be a part of everyday and no doubt you will meet circumstances you've never dreamed of before....but will have more backup and security than you have ever had also...
    I assume you mean a Category D prison - most prisoners tbh will not be any real issue - they probably will just push their luck if/when they can, in ways you can't imagine! These prisoners will not be particularly volatile but this doesn't mean that you should not take your perosnal security for granted....
    If you have anymore specifics try messaging me and I will try and help! :)
    Word of warning - if the job is only offering sessional and is a certain well know Northern provider that has been in the news in recent months and has cut many prison tutor jobs - replacing with sessional tutors - I would personally give it a wide berth, but am sure that others on here could comment more fully....
     
  7. My experience has been that I get more respect from the prisoners than my employer (college). Some management at colleges providing prison education are almost as crooked as the inmates.
    Teaching prison students is generally rewarding but many teachers want to get out because of poor treatment by the college, continual disorganisation and poor change management.
    If you need a job you might need to work for one of the poorer employers whilst you are looking for something better. I would advise you to consider prison teaching as a short term job rather than a decent and stable career.

    You might like to do some internet research. Here are a few links to start with:

    http://readingroom.lsc.gov.uk/lsc/National/olass-booklet.pdf

    http://manchestermule.com/article/objections-force-council-to-reconsider-school-closures

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-11326398

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/jan/11/college-prison-education

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/jan/27/colleges-mancat-manchester

     
  8. Thanks for the brilliant information Mr Job. After reading this I certainly think that it should be seen as a short term job as suggested.
     
  9. I would disagree!!! There IS good career progression and definite plusses for working there over typical workplaces.
    I work for a fantastic provider - there is one provider that most teachers avoid like the plague as I believe I mentioned in my initial reply?!
    This for myself and colleagues is one of the most rewarding jobs ever - yes it has its challenges but all jobs do - but the challenges here are not the same old ones in schools/colleges.
    Where abouts in country are you?
     
  10. I am in the midlands. The post is in Sudbury prison but I have not applied for it yet as I am uncertain on what to do. Perhaps it is even too late to apply now. Lincoln College are the college that are offering the post and it is with OLASS.
     
  11. All prison education are under OLASS.
    Fom what I know - it's a Cat D - pretty safe conditions - I would anticipate that most of the men are not particulalrly violent/threatening if there.
    Lincoln College hasn't hit the headlines as being a particuarly poor provider unlike other providers that shall remain nameless.
    Personally I would go for it - it is quite an established unit, not in a lace of great change due to re-roll or anything....
    Upto you - but these opportunities don't come up too frequently in my experience.[​IMG]
     
  12. It is not a "scare tactic". A teaching job in a prison is as secure or insecure as any other teaching job in education. The whole of further and higher education is already starting to see change and this will increase in the next two years.

    If the government were happy with all the provision across prisons they would not have written a report detailing changes and an action plan. They are looking at expensive re-procurement of the prison learning contract because they want to change things. I think YOIs will be affected less than adult prisons.

    1. Payment by results will have a big impact - what are the chances of a prisoner released now getting a job when he has spent 12 of the last 15 years in jail, has had ongoing drug addiction problems along with mental health problems? Will his high quality numeracy, literacy and plastering courses be judged as failures because he can't find a job? Will payment to the college be witheld or reduced? People with good skills, qualifications and experience (and no criminal record) are finding it hard to get work so he will find it much tougher.
    Payment by results could bankrupt the BIG providers at adult prisons.

    2. One of the aims of re-procurement is to "shift delivery towards the end of prisoner's sentences." Does this mean that a prisoner in the middle of his eight year sentence won't be able to take literacy and numeracy classes and will instead be directed to work run by the prison. If this happens the provider will need less staff and the government will save money. Any body who thinks the government are not trying to save money is deluded - that is why changes are taking place across the whole of education.

    3. The role of the head of learning and skills will change and the prison governors "....will have a key role in shaping the skills offer in their establishments". "We will encourage the engagement of charities, the private and voluntary sectors and social enterprises to make sure their capacity and expertise is utilised." Again this is likely to affect adult jails more than YOIs.

    I strongly suspect that the decent offender learning providers will not see much change, but the the more dodgy providers will. I am sure that part of this government process is about sorting out certain providers, especially those with large contracts, too much power and a disgraceful moral and ethical approach which is not in line with expected standards at prisons.
    <font size="3">4. "Prison Governors and their senior teams feel they do not have: a sufficiently important role in the process of deciding who will provide learning in their prison; enough influence on what will be delivered; or a proper place in decisions about what should be done when they, their Independent Monitoring Board or Ofsted perceive that learning delivery is going awry. "
    This will have no effect on good providers but a massive effect on poor providers.


    In short, the good guys have nothing to fear, but the government are onto the rogues who now know they've been rumbled. The rogues are stupid; they thought they would keep getting away with it - just like the cons!
    </font>
     
  13. Hi,
    I presently work in a prison environment.
    I must admit I have only worked there for seven months.
    It takes a while to adjust to teaching in such a setting. It can be rewarding,as long as there is sufficient support.
    There are pros and cons to any job, I would say go into it with an open mind

     
  14. I have worked in offender learning for 9 years. It is extremely rewarding work and you will find the learners are not what you would expect (in a good way). Most employers in this area will give you the opportunity to have an informal look round before interview which will put your mind at rest. I work in a High Security Estate and have never really had any problems with learners. As a general rule of thumb if you give respect you will get respect. It is also a good idea to remember the mantra be friendly but not friends! You also have to consider that a lot of the learners will be suffering with personal issues and a big aspect of the job will be pastoral care. If you really aren't sure I would urge you to request an informal look round. I have interviewed quite a lot of people and 9 out of 10 say they are pleasantly surprised by what the prison is like. Sadly the media give a very negative and sensationalised impression of prison and prisoners.

    If you are going from FE to offender learning you also need to consider holidays as they vary from provider to provider. You may find you end up with much less holiday on a permanent contract than you would in FE. if you are starting on a sessional contract you can be offered anything from set sessions every week to holiday cover only, so this is something you would need to discuss with the employer.

    If you are keen to work in offender learning check out what the different providers offer first as some are much better than others.
     

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