Functional Skills in Prison: The Case For a Randomised Controlled Trial

Technical Report and Executive Summary

Authors

Kirstine Szifris, Stephen Morris

Abstract

This report presents findings from a feasibility study that explores the potential for running a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to test the effects of functional skills training in prisons. It sets out a design for a pilot trial ahead of a much larger multi-site trial. A pilot trial is proposed on the understanding that it will provide the information required to design and deliver a successful larger multisite study. The final objective of the full trial will be to test whether two different modes of delivering functional skills training for prisoners are equivalent in terms of their impact on attainment in English and maths and other outcomes. The term ‘functional skills’ is used to refer to basic or key skills in English, mathematics and ICT. Specific functional skills qualifications are available in English, maths and ICT with levels and subjects assessed independently. In this report, we focus on English and maths only.

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