Students to study alongside prisoners as part of project to promote learning together

Students from Nottingham Trent University will be studying alongside Nottinghamshire prisoners as part of an innovative project which promotes the principle of learning together.

Students from Nottingham Trent University will be studying alongside Nottinghamshire prisoners as part of an innovative project, which promotes the principle of learning together.

Ten students from the university will visit HMP Lowdham Grange prison, which is managed by Serco, every Wednesday afternoon from January to March.

The ‘Learning Together’ project has been set up between the prison and the university’s Nottingham Institute of Education and Department of Sociology and will see the students and prisoners studying alongside each other.

Together they will consider and debate some challenging themes including: what is prison education for, the philosophies of punishment, why punish, oppression and emancipation, desistance theory, intervention strategies and group work.

To prepare prison students for the ‘Learning Together’ sessions, the university School of Social Sciences – which the Nottingham Institute of Education and Department of Sociology are based within – has donated a number of books to the prison library.

Over time, Dr Paul Hamilton, course leader for Criminology and Dr Anne O’Grady, principal lecturer in Academic Studies in Education, have forged a successful partnership with Mark Derbyshire, Serco’s Head of Learning and Skills at HMP Lowdham Grange.

The aim of the Learning Together programme is to bring NTU and HMP students together in a shared space at the prison to learn about key principles that make up the education and justice systems.

The project also aims to support prisoners in developing the knowledge and skills required to effect a successful reintegration into mainstream society.

Dr Hamilton said the project will explore the relationships between education, rehabilitation and re-entering into the community.

“We know that an increased educational capacity is likely to result in less criminal activity and re-offending,” he said.

The NTU students will have the opportunity to learn more about prison education in both adult learning and criminology settings.

Trish Mitchell, Serco’s deputy custodial contracts director, said: “The Learning Together initiative with Nottingham Trent University is an exciting new project for everybody at Lowdham Grange. It builds on the broad range of education, training and work experiences that we provide at the prison, all aimed at encouraging prisoners to lead productive lives once they are released.

"I am especially proud of this new partnership with Nottingham Trent University and look forward to the positive outcomes that I am sure it will deliver.”

Speaking of the university’s relationship with HMP Lowdham Grange, Dr Hamilton said: “Mr Derbyshire is a creative forward-thinker whose ambition to enable students at the prison to engage in a creative and diverse curriculum has been instrumental in the development of the first Learning Together project.”

Dr O’Grady said: “The partnership between NTU and HMP Lowdham Grange has afforded opportunities for NTU students to understand their role and responsibilities in society in relation to social justice and civic engagement - a significant strategic endeavour of the university.

"This partnership provides opportunities to expose the stereotypical assumptions made upon groups in society, and to enable all partners to explore their legitimacy. We are delighted to be working with an organisation who are similarly ambitious for their students.”

The Learning Together initiative was first designed and delivered in 2015 by Dr Ruth Armstrong and Dr Amy Ludlow, of Cambridge University.

The project has since been rolled out into other universities and prisons across the UK.

  • Notes for editors

    Press enquiries please contact Helen Breese, Media Relations Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8751, or via email; or Dave Rogers, Media Relations Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8782, or via email.

    Nottingham Trent University's five-year strategic plan Creating the University of the Future has five main ambitions: Creating Opportunity, Valuing Ideas, Enriching Society, Connecting Globally, and Empowering People

    The Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education was awarded to Nottingham Trent University in November 2015. It is the highest national honour for a UK university and recognises the institution's world-class research. Pioneering projects to improve weapons and explosives detection in luggage, enable safer production of powdered infant formula, and combat food fraud, led to the prestigious award.

Students to study alongside prisoners as part of project to promote learning together

Published on 13 January 2017
  • Category: Press; School of Social Sciences

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418