Three years ago, Alice Jones became the first Additional Learning Needs (ALN) teacher at HMP/YOI Parc.
“My work is about creating opportunities for prisoners with ALN to learn in a more specialised and individual way. As someone with dyslexia I know how challenging education can be – it’s my job to find ways for each person to achieve.”
Residents are supported with education in anything from reading and writing to strategies for daily living. Alice says,
Alice is skilled at finding what each resident is passionate about and uses this to build skills in a way that is adapted to how they learn best. Each person has ownership and pride in their learning – for many it’s the first time they’ve had this in their lives.
The role has grown to lead and advise staff in the prison on how to develop best practice when working with residents who have additional learning needs, and to bring the prison in line with the current Welsh framework and policies.
The programme is not only about learning new skills but is also about focusing on the positive way students can improve and manage their lives and prosper when they return to their communities. Achievements can range from helping a resident to improve his numeracy and literacy so he can fill out an order for his meal, to longer term goals such as working with a student with learning disabilities to gain employment on the prison radio or writing a book.
“I believe in advocating for my students as, like each and every one of us, they have a different way of learning not barriers to learning. They all have a super-power, and it’s my job to find it, no matter what their ability.”