|Learning and Skills
At HMP Altcourse we positively encourage prisoners to study either on a full-time or part-time basis. The Education Department is run in conjunction with The Manchester College and it is the aim to encourage, motivate and support all prisoners by enabling them to take responsibility for their own learning and training whilst extending their personal development.
Prisoners are offered the opportunity to improve basic literacy, numeracy and information technology skills, or take academic courses leading to certification from GCSE up to degree level. They have access to learning resources held in the Education Department, as well as the prison library, which, if necessary, can arrange the loan of books.
We have a strong team of full-time staff headed up by the Education Manager. The Education Department operates from Monday to Friday for day and evening classes. There is also provision to provide education on the vulnerable prisoner unit.
All our courses have national accreditation and are available at different levels. After the initial education assessment prisoners negotiate an individual learning plan choosing from:
- Information Technology
- English and Mathematics
- Social and Life Skills
- Art and Music
- Unit Based Education
In the computer class prisoners will be offered a choice of courses commencing with NICAS (National Inter-Action Certificate Award Scheme) and CLAIT (Computer Literacy and Information Technology, progressing onto IBT 2 (Integrated Business Technology) and Word and Text processing.
English and Mathematics
In these subjects we work towards the Basic Skills Agency Quality Mark. Prisoners are encouraged to develop self-confidence and self-esteem by improving literacy and numeracy skills and a number of prisoners are employed as reading champions to support teachers in some of the basic skills work. They are working towards the 9281 initial certificate in teaching basic skills.
Social and Life Skills
A range of open college accredited units to develop confidence and practical skills such as cookery
Art and Music
Prisoners are encouraged to develop creative skills. Again, accreditation is available through the open college.
Unit Based Education
Full-time education has recently been introduced on two of the residential units. Prisoners are being offered the chance, through flexible learning resource centres, to study a wide range of subjects and courses up to 'A' level standard. Examinations are taken at a level appropriate to each prisoner's ability. Individual learning is assessed at regular intervals.
A large number of prisoners attend education one day a week on day-release from within the prison. They are working towards a key skills certificate which helps to improve their future employability.