Functional Skills in Prison (Randomised Controlled Trial) - A Pilot Study


Kirstine Szifris, Stephen Morris, Peter Traynor, Gavin Bailey


This programme of work aims to improve understanding of ‘best’ practice in functional skills education in England and Wales. As part of this, we are also seeking to develop our understanding of how to deliver a randomised controlled trial that will test the efficacy of different modes of delivering functional skills. This report outlines the process of setting up and testing a protocol for a (pilot) randomised controlled trial in an English prison. Overall, the research team successfully developed and put into practice a rigorous protocol that could be transferred to a full-efficacy trial. However, the trial encountered problems with recruitment that were related to disruption in the prison and changes in the wider prison estate. As such, it is difficult to draw conclusions about whether an RCT works in prisons.


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