Prisoner Learning Alliance

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The Prisoner Learning Alliance (PLA) is a network of organisations and individuals with expertise, experience and an interest in prison education. Our network of over 200 members includes prison officers, governors, prison teachers, voluntary sector workers, academics, people with lived experience of prison, and prison education providers.


Our Vision: That all prisoners can engage in high-quality and diverse learning opportunities to help them transform their lives

Our Mission: To provide expertise and strategic vision to inform prison education priorities, policies and practices.


Read more about the PLA’s priorities


Our work is directed and governed by an elected Steering Committee. The PLA is chaired by Professor Tom Schuller, who has held senior posts in academia and policy, is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and a visiting professor at Birkbeck and the UCL Institute of Education. Secretariat is provided by Francesca Cooney at the Prisoners’ Education Trust.


Explore Our Recent Work

Improving Access to Digital Technology

In July 2020 the PLA published The Digital Divide, a briefing which explores and offers examples of good practice in digital technology, as demonstrated by prisons around the world. From in-cell tablets to virtual reality headsets, innovative projects highlight the potential for valuable, secure internet access for prisoners.


Developing the Prison Education Curriculum

In addition to responding to the UK Parliament Education Committee’s inquiry, Education: Are prisoners being left behind? with our own submission, we have established an expert PLA Working Group to develop our work on the prison curriculum.


Monitoring Prison Education

We commission expert research to inform our policies, such as our 2020 report, Leadership in Prison Education: Meeting the challenges of the new system, funded by the Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL).


Become a Member

Members of the PLA gain the following Prisoner Learning Alliance membership benefits:

  • Stay up to date on policy changes affecting prison education
  • Discover and discuss modes of good practice in prison education
  • Receive invitations to upcoming PLA events, like our popular Wednesday Webinars, and the PLA Awards
  • Be the first to read new PLA research reports and policy briefings
  • Join the European Prison Education Association (a multinational network of prison education specialists) at no extra cost


Join PLA today

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