All children are expected and enabled to engage in education, skills or work activities that promote personal development and employability. There are sufficient, suitable education, skills and work places to meet the needs of the population and provision is of a good standard.

In Wales, this part of the inspection will be conducted by Estyn. To ensure that establishments are held accountable to the same standard of performance as schools and colleges in the community, we have chosen to explicitly adopt Estyn’s common inspection framework, which explains the different style of this section of Expectations. For establishments in England, see Expectation 65. For establishments in Northern Ireland, which we inspect only by invitation, see here.

66.1. Children achieve and attain the best possible outcomes and standards in their education, work and activities.

Estyn’s common inspection framework (CIF) and inspection guidance sets out the main criteria for judging standards, taking account of:

  • standards and progress overall;
  • standards and progress of specific groups; and
  • standards and progress in skills.

In addition to the evaluation criteria set out in Estyn’s CIF, inspectors will also consider the following indicators.

  • The standards reached by children overall are appropriate to their abilities.
  • Children make good, timely progress towards achieving appropriate qualifications and challenging learning goals.
  • Children recall previous learning, develop thinking skills, acquire new knowledge, understanding and skills, and apply these to new situations.
  • Particular groups of children, for example, learners on different levels, learners from disadvantaged backgrounds and those from ethnic minority groups make good progress.
  • Children with additional learning needs progress well towards well-defined, individual targets that take good account of their needs and abilities.
  • Children make as much progress as they can, given their starting points and their ability, including those with more developed vocational skills or academic achievements, stretching them fully to achieve as well as they can.
  • Children develop the skills of speaking and listening, reading and writing (in Welsh/English), numeracy and ICT that equip them to succeed and progress their education, skills and work activities and to reach their progression aims.
  • Children develop the skills they need in order that they can progress effectively to the next stage of their education, employment, or training within the prison, or outside of prison when they are released.
  • Children develop their awareness of the value of the Welsh language and those who speak Welsh develop their use of the language within education and activities.
  • Where appropriate, children meet the targets in their sentence plans to support a positive rehabilitation and minimise their chances of reoffending.

66.2. Children feel safe in education and activities and develop behaviours that help them to minimise reoffending.

Estyn’s CIF and inspection guidance sets out the main criteria for judging prisoner’s wellbeing and attitudes to learning taking account of:

  • well-being; and
  • attitudes to learning.

In addition to the evaluation criteria set out in Estyn’s CIF, inspectors will also consider the following indicators.

  • Children feel safe and secure, and free from physical and verbal abuse during their education, work and activities.
  • Children know how they can protect themselves from harassment, discrimination and extremism.
  • Children participate fully in activities that motivate them and improve their awareness of how to reduce reoffending behaviours (for example through money management, personal development or employability courses).
  • Children develop confidence, resilience and an ability to engage with new, unfamiliar experiences, ideas and people.
  • Children take interest and pride in their work, their ability to sustain concentration and to avoid distractions.
  • Children engage in tasks and bring them to completion.
  • Children persevere and remain purposeful when they face difficulties or seek other solutions when their first approach to a problem is unsuccessful.
  • Children are able to work in a range of ways, for example independently, in small groups and in whole-class settings.
  • Children demonstrate respect for the contributions of others, for example by allowing others to speak or by remaining calm when others disagree with them.
  • Children attend education and activities regularly and frequently.
  • Children understand how they can improve their physical and emotional health by making choices about what they eat and drink, as well as through the physical, educational and work activities they undertake.
  • Children’s behaviour in education and activities complies with any guidelines for behaviour and conduct stipulated by the prison.
  • Children develop an understanding of how they can avoid reoffending when they are released and develop strategies to reduce reoffending behaviours.

66.3. Children benefit from good quality teaching and a relevant range of learning experiences that equip them for their release from prison.

Estyn’s CIF and inspection guidance sets out the main criteria for judging the quality of teaching and learning experiences, taking account of:

  • quality of teaching;
  • the breadth, balance and appropriateness of the curriculum; and
  • provision for skills

In addition to the evaluation criteria set out in Estyn’s CIF, inspectors will also consider the following indicators.

  • Oral and written feedback from staff helps children to know how well they are doing and what they need to do to improve.
  • Children assess their own performance effectively and that of other children, where appropriate.
  • Teachers make effective use of valid, accurate and reliable assessments of children’s needs, skills and work to inform their future planning of education, work or activities.
  • Teachers set inspiring targets to challenge children in developing their skills and knowledge.
  • Teachers track and monitor children’s progress clearly and effectively, making effective use of the outcomes of tracking and monitoring to identify relevant issues and respond appropriately, for example through the provision of appropriate support and challenge, the use of intervention strategies, the mentoring or coaching of individuals or groups.
  • Staff are well qualified and have good subject knowledge and experience relevant to their roles, to reflect best industry practice and to meet children’s and employers’ needs.
  • Teachers make effective use of trained learning support assistants or peer mentors to provide children with focused individual guidance and help.
  • Staff identify children’s support and additional learning needs through effective initial assessment, and provide high quality and effective support to help them achieve challenging goals.
  • Children who were studying towards GCSEs or A levels prior to arriving are enabled to continue with their studies.
  • The curriculum and range of education and activities, including arrangements to ensure that children acquire the necessary skills in literacy (Welsh/English), numeracy and digital competence, meet the needs of all children to prepare them for the labour market or to progress into opportunities when they are released.
  • Teachers help children to understand issues relating to equality and diversity, and to develop the values of tolerance and respect.
  • Teachers challenge stereotypes in children’ attitudes, choices and expectations.
  • Staff provide clear attention and focus within education and activities to motivate and support children to develop their skills in English/Welsh, mathematics and employability, in order to achieve their learning goals and resettlement plans.

66.4. The provision of care, support and guidance helps learners to overcome barriers and to plan their progress successfully.

Estyn’s CIF and inspection guidance sets out overarching criteria for judging the effectiveness of care, support and guidance, taking account of:

  • tracking, monitoring and the provision of learning support;
  • healthy choices and active citizenship;
  • spiritual, moral, social and cultural education; and
  • safeguarding

In addition to the evaluation criteria set out in Estyn’s CIF, inspectors will also consider the following indicators.

  • Children receive the support they need to overcome barriers to learning or progress.
  • Staff track the impact of support they give children, to identify that it is effective in helping them to make good progress.
  • Children receive good quality, accessible information, advice and guidance, which they use effectively to plan their progression steps.
  • Children receive impartial guidance and advice to help them make informed decisions in planning their learning and activities while in prison, so that they can improve their progression and resettlement planning.
  • Children’s learning plans are linked with and take good account of their sentence plans.
  • Staff use release on temporary licence (ROTL) effectively and appropriately to enhance children’s education, employment or training skills and prepare them for release.
  • Staff encourage and support children who are due for release (including through access to modern means of job search and job application via the internet) to progress to suitable further education, training and employment on release.
  • Staff have good systems in place to record and monitor children’s behaviour.
  • Children’s employment-related skills are recognised and recorded effectively.

66.5. Leadership and management of education, skills and activities improve outcomes that children achieve.

Estyn’s CIF and inspection guidance sets out overarching criteria for judging the effectiveness of leadership and management of education, skills and work activities, taking account of:

  • the quality and effectiveness of leaders and managers, including the governing body;
  • self-evaluation processes and improvement planning;
  • professional development; and
  • use of resources.

In addition to the evaluation criteria set out in Estyn’s CIF, inspectors will also consider the following indicators.

  • Leaders and managers have established and communicated a clear vision, aims, strategic objectives, plans and policies that focus on meeting children’s needs, reducing reoffending and facilitating their reintegration back into society.
  • Leaders and managers take good account of labour market information in planning the education and work activities available to children.
  • Leaders and managers have developed clear methods to analyse the impact of provision on outcomes for children and on reducing reoffending behaviour.
  • Leaders and managers monitor the progression and destinations into education, employment and training of children who are leaving prison and they use this data in planning their provision.
  • Leaders and managers analyse their strengths, areas for development and first-hand evidence to inform planning.
  • Leaders and managers at all levels set high expectations for staff, children and themselves.
  • Leaders and managers model and promote professional values and behaviours that contribute positively to the provision’s improvement and effective collaboration between staff and with other providers.
  • Leaders and managers share positive features of provision with staff and collaborate with other providers to achieve improvements in the education system locally, regionally and nationally to build its capacity for continuous improvement and to improve children’s reintegration into society.
  • Leaders and managers ensure that there is sufficient provision of appropriate education, skills and activities to cater for the full prison population, which leads to accreditation whenever possible.
  • There are effective arrangements in place to ensure that children are allocated to activities promptly, attend them regularly and arrive at sessions on time.
  • Leaders and managers have effective arrangements to support the active engagement of all staff in increasing their professional knowledge, understanding and skills – including participation in professional learning experiences, appraisal and performance management – and to ensure that this engagement impacts positively on children’s education, work and activities.
  • Leaders and managers identify good practice within the provision and share this with staff.
  • Leaders and managers manage the performance of staff well to help staff improve their practice. They address issues of underperformance robustly and directly where necessary.
  • Leaders and managers have a clear and measurable strategy to improve children’s literacy, numeracy and digital competence.
  • The quality of improvement planning is robust and the priorities for improvement link well to the findings of the prison’s self-evaluation.
  • There are effective systems to ensure that leaders and managers define actions for improvement in specified and realistic timescales and allocate responsibility for their delivery.
  • Leaders and managers ensure that priorities are supported by the allocation of resources.
  • Leaders and managers monitor and analyse children’s progress, including the progress of specific or vulnerable groups.
  • Pay rates encourage children to participate and progress in education.
  • Leaders and managers have a clear strategy to promote the Welsh language skills and the Welsh dimension within activities for children that encourages all children, especially Welsh speakers, to use and develop their Welsh language skills.
  • Leaders and managers organise education, work and activities to ensure that children are kept fully occupied and busy during sessions.

Human rights standards

Education, skills and work activities
In relation to expectations 65 and 66: The right of each child to education is recognised in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (see CRC 28 and 29). Children must be provided with education and vocational training that meet their individual needs (assessed on arrival and on an ongoing basis) and aspirations by properly qualified staff. Consideration must be given to ensuring that children are able to carry on with their education and training on release (see ERJO 50, 62.6, 76–77; 102.1; CPT 107, 109–110; HR 38–40, 42–43, 81, 84–85; EPR 28, 106; CRPD 27).

See also human rights standards in relation to expectations 59–64 and standards relating to equality and diversity.