§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the range and provision of education to prison inmates; and what type of work is made available in prisons. 
§ Beverley Hughes
[holding answer 10 December 2001]: All prisons must provide a core curriculum of basic skills, life and social skills and information technology skills. The main thrust of education in prisons is to provide opportunities for offenders to attain a range of nationally recognised qualifications up to level 2, which will enhance their employability on release. We are encouraging the integration of basic skills across prison regimes in areas such as physical education, kitchens, vocational training (VT) workshops and arts and crafts classes. Provision is also made for those with higher levels of ability, for example through distance learning.
Prisoners are employed in a range of work-related activities which include: industry workshops supplying goods and services for the Prison Service and outside commercial contractors and catering, cleaning, works and garden parties providing services within each establishment. Industries and training workshops offer prisoners opportunities to learn job skills and to achieve nationally recognised qualifications, such as NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications) and construction awards. VT courses cover a wide range of learning areas such as, catering, industrial cleaning, construction skills, motor mechanics, engineering, hairdressing, and manufacturing.