Outstanding contribution to education in prison: the awards

Recognising those across the prison estate who have gone the extra mile 


Prisoner Learning Alliance awards. Photo Laurynas Taunys

The second annual Prisoner Learning Alliance awards recognises teachers, officers, librarians, peer mentors and others within the prison estate who have made outstanding contributions to their prisons and the education of the people within them.

“They have, in the words of some of the nomination letters “gone the extra mile”, have “made learning fun” and more importantly, showed an unwavering belief in their students and in their ability to learn and potential to transform their lives”  Jo Stevens, shadow minister for justice.

All nominations came directly from the prisoners themselves and were the awards were presented by Jo Stevens MP. We bring you the winners and the voices that nominated them.

Outstanding Teacher; Young People’s Estate

1. Emily Dewar Landridge, Feltham Young Offenders Institute


Sangeetha Photo: Laurynas Taunys

“I’m not the smartest guy in the world but my teacher Emily makes me feel I am – she pushes me every day. It’s very hard to get people like that in your life, so you have to be grateful for every second you spend with them.”.

2. Sangeetha Navendren, Feltham Young Offenders Institute

“She has motivated me to do work, and she’s made me think of other ways to deal with my anger. Even when I refuse to see her in the morning she comes back in the afternoon, and she doesn’t give up on me.”


Outstanding Teacher; Adult Estate

1. Aleta Blackall, HMP Ford

“Her infectious and bubbly attitude exudes in class to all others and makes it the happiest classroom you could imagine.”

2. Mickie Griffiths, HMP Littlehey, Cambridgeshire



Mickie Griffiths: Photo, Laurynas Taunys

“You will always notice Mickie she’s the one with the brightly coloured Converse boots and matching outfit – a different colour for every day. The bright colours aren’t the only thing that make her stand out. Mickie has a great personality and can turn any subject into a fun, interesting and educational experience.” 

3. Cheryl Penn, HMP Usk, Bridgend

“[Cheryl] has given prisoners a life-changing experience through education and rehabilitation. She has provided short courses helping individuals gain relevant important qualifications.”

4. Ian Rampton, HMP Eastwood Park Women’s Prison, Gloucestershire.


Ian Rampton. Photo: Laurynas Taunys


“I feel he has really helped build my self confidence and really lifted my mood, as he consistently praises you, always encourages you and believes in you no matter what. Thanks to Ian I now know I can do things and I am not worthless.”

5. Vilma Smith-Yates, HMP Wymott, Lancashire.   

“I have never previously met a teacher so committed in what they teach. Vilma puts others first, treating people as individuals. She is a valuable asset to Wymott and the inmates that have the privilege to come into contact with her.”

6. Sue Kane, HMP Low Newton Women’s prison


Outstanding Officer  

1. Trevor Latham, HMP Parc, Bridgend


Trudy Sketchley. Photo: Laurynas Taunys

“He has invested so much passion, empathy and humanity into the course, showing us all by his own example those qualities that we all wish to adopt for ourselves.”

2. Trudy Sketchley, HMP Swaleside

“She deserves this award for her outstanding work, but most of all for being a beautiful human being.”


3. Emma Crow, Offender Supervisor specialist officer, HMP Frankland 


Outstanding Individual

1. Vicky Dickeson and Valerie Samual, librarians, HMP Swansea

“They have turned the library into a sanctuary of reading and learning.”

Awards - Pierro Izzolino.jpg

Pierro Izzolino. Photo: Laurynas Taunys

2. Pierro Izzolino, St Giles Trust Coordinator, HMP Huntercombe

“Prison cuts me off from society and impedes my future prospects, but meeting Pierro has turned everything around for me. Pierro will go the extra mile in this hostile environment to help people like myself use our time positively and better ourselves.”

3. Michaela Taylor, Learning and Skills Manager, HMP Warren Hill

“Her fantastic approach and levels of enthusiasm and encouragement are infectious”

4. Dr Ruth Armstrong and Dr Amy Ludlow, Cambridge University and founders of ‘Learning Together’ 

“Ruth and Amy didn’t just save my life- they gave me an opportunity to earn a new one. They don’t give me sympathy, they showed me what can I do. The dark world of prison is a lot brighter with you in it. You both know of some of the hell I have walked through and created to get to where I am today. If I knew there were people like them waiting to help people like me, I would have walked it again.”


Outstanding Peer Mentor

1. Habib, HMP Swaleside

Habib helped to set up the emotional wellbeing mentoring scheme, a unique peer-led service providing help and support to prisoners suffering with mental health issues.

 “Habib has shown a lot of courage to share his difficulties which has led to others feeling comfortable and opening up, breaking down barriers and stigma to mental health.”

2.   Paul, HMP Swaleside

Paul has been a prisoner at Swaleside since 2003 and in that time has learned to read, write and gain qualifications up to level 5. He is now helping other prisoners in their own education in Swaleside’s innovative learning wing called the Learning Academy, which was recently featured on the One Show.

From his nomination letter:

“Paul is an excellent role model and coming from the traveller community works particularly well with that group of men here”

3. Tien, HMP Huntercombe

Tien is an inductions orderly at Huntercombe, which is a prison for foreign nationals, where there are about 20 new prisoners a week. He greets each prisoner and addresses any immediate concerns. He also helps translate for Vietnamese prisoners, and has created a dictionary with commonly used words to “let prisoners help themselves as much as possible”.

4. Nicholas, HMP Parc

Nicholas helps prisoners access education in prison and has “worked tirelessly” preparing six students for their GCSE in maths.

“He got me into learning and helped me realise what I was capable of. Because of him I feel confident in getting out.”

5. Samuel, HMP Thameside (now released)

Prison Watch UK would like to congratulate all those who were recognised with awards, as well as all those nominated, for the outstanding work they do.

One Comment on “Outstanding contribution to education in prison: the awards”

  1. […] the 2016 Prisoner Learning Alliance awards, we caught up with shadow prisons minister Jo Stevens, to talk about education in […]


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