Tuesday, 23rd April 2019


Prison teachers, also known as instructional officers, are employed by state-funded further education institutions to teach subjects and vocational skills to people serving time in UK prisons and young offenders’ institutes. They can either be qualified teachers or experts in a particular trade.

They teach a wide range of subjects and skills which will help offenders find work more easily after being released. These can include core curriculum subjects such as Maths, Literacy, Art and Design or Sciences, or more work-focused skills, including carpentry or mechanics.

Unless specialising, most teachers will have to teach a range of core subjects and supervise different classes.

They will be responsible for ordering and monitoring all classroom equipment.

They will have to accommodate frequent turnover in pupil numbers and levels of education given that, unlike schools which have academic years and structured intake, prisons receive new additions frequently and inconsistently. Prisons do not have term times, so prison teachers will not always enjoy the same holiday allowances as schoolteachers.

Prison teachers normally have to assess individuals’ educational needs and goals before planning content for lessons. They record class progress, write reports for senior administrators and will liaise with examining bodies to organise examinations for inmates.

Prison teachers will always have to adhere to strict security regulations and this can dramatically restrict the use of certain tools or materials. Normally, teachers will be given thorough security training before starting a position.