Andrew’s award for positive effect on prisoners

October 29 2018
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A TEACHER at Ashfield prison has won an award for his “undying positive energy” in helping inmates to learn.

Andrew Morris is head of student services at the Category C jail in Pucklechurch, which holds up to 400 sex offenders.

His work – from teaching inmates to read up to supporting them through Open University degrees – has been recognised by the Prisoner Learning Alliance, which has given him a national award.

Andrew has taught at HMP Ashfield, which is managed on behalf of the Ministry of Justice by Serco, for 12 years. He started as a PE teacher, and then went into information advice and guidance services.

Andrew works with learners on every level: he runs a literacy programme with charity Shannon Trust to give prisoners one-on-one support in learning to read, and has also developed his own beginners’ Maths programme. He is also supporting 35 learners through Open University degrees.

He said: “The highlight of my job is seeing students actually achieve when they didn’t think they could. You get them started on learning to read, and work up from there.

“People get passionate after a while, and take control of it themselves. Orderlies who work for me, my passion rubs off on them. Then they’re always coming up with new ideas, and talking to the rest of the learners about how to make education better.”

Andrew’s nomination came from fellow members of staff at the prison.

It read: “He is approachable, has a persistent smile and is the epitome of happiness. He has undying positive energy and has undoubtedly turned many prisoners’ dark days into positive ones.”

Andrew was handed the award at the PLA’s fourth annual awards ceremony, recently held at Manchester Metropolitan University as part of the its annual conference. The awards are unique, with all nominations coming from people in prison for staff and mentors making a real difference in prison education.

This year the PLA received a record 1,300 nominations, over three times more than last year. There were 15 winners across five categories, including outstanding teachers and education staff, officers, peer mentors, individuals, and staff working in the young people’s estate.