10 March 2021
In this webinar, Rod discusses what he has found so rewarding in the role, some of his highlights, and his hopes for the future of prison education.
Listen to the full webinar on SoundCloud now
Joining the civil service after graduating from university, Rod spent his career there working on social policy and within the Ministry of Justice, where he focused on strategy. Dissatisfied with the way in which decisions can be made in central government, Rod decided to leave the civil service and move to the voluntary and community sector. His first post in this field would be at the Prisoners Education Trust as CEO, in 2013!
With experience working both internally and externally to the government, Rod’s insight into issues that the public service deals with has informed his approach to the valuable collaboration of PET with those who manage the prison estate. As CEO, the most significant shift in the policy environment was the change in governmental perception of prison education from inconsequential to a mode of solution. As a member of the expert panel for the Coates review on prison education, Rod contributed to a report which would influence prison education policies throughout political shifts, and continues to do so.
The way the state buys education for its children is not to buy the number of A Levels and O Levels that it wants to see delivered – it funds an institution to invest in the children’s education… To make education work in a prison, you need a constructive relationship between the education provider, and the prison. It ought to be much more like a partnership than a contractual purchasing of individual items of learning.
Despite the comments made in the Coates review on the necessity to introduce digital learning into a prison environment, action has not been taken to do so. Rod hopes that, following lockdown, this lesson has been learnt, and that COVID-19 might prompt reform in how the prison education system operates through the incorporation of online learning.
The webinar is chaired by PET Trustee Patrick Diamond, senior lecturer in public policy at Queen Mary University.
We look forward to welcoming PET’s incoming CEO, Jon Collins, at the start of April.
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