The quality of reading education in prisons: one year on

Date of publication
30 June 2023
Report type
Thematic reports and research

In March 2022, we published a joint review of reading education in prisons with Ofsted, which highlighted the barriers preventing prisoners from receiving the support they need and made several recommendations that were accepted by HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) and prison governors.

This follow-up report finds that, while some progress has been made in meeting those recommendations, improvements in key areas such as screening, assessment, resourcing and strategy development have been too slow.

The report also finds:

  • HMPPS and governors have not secured sufficient specialist training for staff
  • prison leaders have not provided ample opportunities for prisoners to access the library
  • prison leaders do not encourage regular attendance at reading classes
  • leaders do not provide enough classes for English for speakers of other languages (ESOL)
  • prison leaders have not used assessments that can identify the specific reading knowledge and skills that prisoners are missing or need to improve
  • prison leaders have not established and communicated clear pathways to help prisoners improve their reading skills
  • prison leaders do not match the ambition of their reading strategies with the required level of detail in their action plans.

Read the report: The quality of reading education in prisons: one year on