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Concern as A4E pulls out of London prison education contract a year early

14 August 2014 | last updated: 10 December 2015

UCU has expressed concern following news that A4E is to terminate its contract to deliver education at 12 London prisons because it was operating at a loss.

The company was scheduled to deliver prison education at the London institutions until July 2015, but has announced that it is pulling out of the Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) contract after just two years. The move will affect over 400 staff employed in the prisons.

The union said that the decision will cause upheaval and uncertainty for both staff and offenders, and suggested the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and Skills Funding Agency need to review the tendering and funding models for prison education to ensure they are fit for purpose.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'This decision by A4E reinforces our concern about profit-making companies operating in the prison education sector. This move will cause upheaval and uncertainty for staff and offenders alike.

'Those delivering offender learning contracts should have people, not profit, as their primary concern. Offenders who take part in education while in prison are three times less likely to reoffend than those who don't, so it's really important that we get this right.

'NOMS and the Skills Funding Agency need to look again at the tendering and funding models for prison education to make sure they are fit for purpose and reduce the chance of this happening again.'

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