§ Mr. George Howarth
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what provision exists in the prison education system to cater for prisoners who(a) already have achieved and (b) have not achieved educational success. 
§ Miss Widdecombe
Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the temporary Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from Richard Tilt to Mr. George Howarth, dated 27 November 1995:The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about what provision exists in the prison education system to cater for prisoners who (a) already have achieved and (b) have not achieved educational success.A high proportion of prisoners have low educational attainments. Priority in prison education is therefore given to dealing with basic learning deficits. Adult basic education courses in literacy and numeracy are provided at all adult establishments and courses in English for speakers of other languages are provided where required. We are in the process of implementing a national core curriculum which emphasises adult basic education and social and life skills, English for speakers of other languages, information technology, 466W and how to be an effective learner. In addition, courses are made available at the discretion of the individual governor in accordance with orders placed on the education provider (usually a college of further education) which holds the contract for that establishment.There are opportunities for prisoners who wish to undertake advanced academic studies, including, in some cases, study for A Levels and enrolment as undergraduates with the Open University, or with other universities as external students.Not all of the courses available to prisoners are geared towards academic or vocational success. Prisoners of all abilities can derive benefit from art and craft classes and activities, or distance learning materials obtainable through the education department for open and flexible learning. More advanced students may study for GNVQs and GCSE in various subjects and some establishments run vocational training and construction industry training courses, with opportunities to achieve National Vocational Qualifications.