Fife College Awarded National Prison Contract

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Fife College is delighted to have been awarded the contract to provide learning and skills to prisoners throughout Scotland, giving them the opportunity to unlock their potential and transform their lives.

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) has chosen Fife College to provide the first national Learning and Skills Contract which went live on 1st of August. The contract will be delivered across all 13 SPS publicly owned prisons over the next five years.

One of the key strengths of the new contract is the development of themed and project based learning relating to everyday life which emphasises strengths and builds the confidence of learners.

The College has a strong track record of working with the Prison Service, with a long history of supporting learners and is proud of what has been achieved in partnership with SPS over the past 17 years.

The new partnership contract will see Fife College work with over 3,500 prisoners per month in a range of programmes such as health and safety, peer mentoring, e-learning, cookery, arts and crafts.

Courses on offer range from basic literacy and numeracy through to formal qualifications. All courses delivered enhance prisoners’ general life skills and improve their chances of future employment.

Fife College will also provide support for prisoners who have learning difficulties and disabilities through structured programmes that meet their individual learning needs.

The Fife College contract, worth over £22 million, will employ 130 dedicated staff based in learning centres within the 13 prisons throughout Scotland. The team will work closely with SPS staff to support the SPS Learning and Skills Strategy.

Hugh Hall, Principal of Fife College is delighted that Fife College has won this first national Learning and Skills contract for SPS and said:

“At Fife College we very much believe that education can transform lives and we are therefore committed to working with partner organisations such as SPS to support them to achieve their vision while widening opportunities for all.

“The prison environment presents a number of challenges for educators as we take into account the complex needs of the prisoner populations, mix of abilities, backgrounds and length and type of sentences. We are very pleased to have won this contract to deliver learning and skills in Scotland’s prisons and that our track record and innovative plans to maximise resources and benefit learners proved the right fit for the needs of the SPS.

“We are looking forward to working with SPS over the next five years to support and help deliver their Learning and Skills Strategy.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Prison Service said: “Fife College has a well-established track record in working in prisons across Scotland. They have been responsible for a wide range of innovative and exciting initiatives that have been of significant benefit to those in our care. We look forward to this new chapter in our relationship with the College.”

Working with external partners in the community has also proved to be a winning formula for SPS and Fife College to engage learners and bring new learning experiences in to prison.

A great example of this is a recent project delivered in conjunction with Edinburgh Napier University, SPS and Fife College which was awarded a Herald Higher Education Award for Widening Access last month. 

The Polmont Prison project saw a group of six learners within its learning centre, led by Fife College, work with students from Edinburgh Napier to produce a film and series of photographs that touched on their time within the establishment so far. 

This is the second year the partnership with Edinburgh Napier has resulted in an award win.  Recent partnerships with prisons in Perth and Kinross have resulted in awards for projects with the community on drugs and alcohol. Similar partnerships and collaborative working will play a key part of the new contract.