Monday 21st September saw HMP Bristol move to a stage which would allow for face-to-face teaching to begin again alongside the in cell learning packs that have been developed and delivered to maintain education during COVID lockdown. This required an immense amount of planning and preparation from all staff, on site and behind the scenes and it is a credit to the great collaboration between the Weston College team and their prison colleagues that HMP Bristol is the first prison to have face-to-face delivery recommence.
The safety of staff and learners has been paramount and robust procedures have been put in place in order to ensure delivery is COVID secure. Small groups of 4 have been able to come for induction sessions, immerse themselves in cookery classes and have library visits whilst following a timetable to ensure bubbles do not mix.
More courses are slowly being reintroduced including a peer mentoring course, with the initiative that with trained peer mentors on wings those who are still partaking in remote learning will have more support and guidance. This has been greatly received with one learner stating that ‘After day 1 of the course, I feel rejuvenated’ and another feeding back ‘I needed this course more than I realised’.
With reduced class sizes and more safety measures in place remote learning, as previously mentioned, has remained and all courses now have an element of directed self-study to them. Weston College at HMP Bristol are trailing this and hope that it will mean in time education can be more accessible and those harder to reach learners will have opportunities opened up to them that will enable them to transform their lives.