Last month The TES revealed that prison officers are being sought by recruitment agency Principal Resourcing to deal with ‘behaviour issues and disruptions’ in Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate and Wakefield.
The image this conjures up is rather unfortunate, and one can’t help but wonder what some prison officers would do without the customary tools of the trade, such as lockable cells, handcuffs, tasers and solitary confinement. As Mary Bousted, joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, says in the TES story: ‘…the set of skills you learn as a prison officer are not necessarily transferrable to schools.’ Moreover, there is an unspoken implication that these young people are unruly and incorrigible, incapable of being helped and merely prison fodder on a predetermined pathway to incarceration.
On the other hand, some prison officers could carry out the behaviour support role in schools with aplomb. Recent research looking at prison education found that:
‘Most prison educators felt that, in addition to achievement, it was important to be able to develop the learning skills and self-image of those they worked with. As one said: ‘I would like learners to gain self-confidence and work on release and be able to network … Teaching has to reach the whole person’.
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