OLASS September 2006

Kensington and Chelsea College (KCC) now delivers West London’s Offenders’ Learning and Skills Service (OLASS). KCC has been awarded the contract to deliver education and training in 4 Prisons across West London. The Service launched on 26th September, with a reception at the Hortensia Road Centre.

What makes OLASS different? The main feature is joining vocational programmes with employability, Skills for Life and through the gate connections to link to further support and development in the community and jobs. Kensington and Chelsea College successfully bid against a number of high profile providers to deliver in 4 Prisons: HMPs Wandsworth, Wormwood Scrubs, Latchmere House and HMP Young Offenders Institute Feltham. KCC also has a substantial contract with the Probation Service to deliver education and training provision to those serving sentences in the community. For the first time this all links up.

KCC’s Chief Executive Mike Jutsum who previously secured prison education contracts in the North of England, says: “Offenders have said to me many times, when I present them with certificates – “if I had this when I was 18, I would not be in here now.” This is a real opportunity for Kensington and Chelsea College to draw on its experience of working with young people and adults with a poor experience of education, to develop and improve their skills. We look to help to shape this new service which is clearly focused on improving the employability prospects of offenders. We shall have a real impact on the re-offending rate which directly impacts on the society and the communities we all live in.”

This new contract means an additional 225 experienced staff joining the College. KCC are bringing these teams together with those on College sites to share good practice and teaching experience. That professional development programme, is a key initiative led by the new Director of OLASS, Shanie Jamieson. “Staff are sharing their own experiences of working in prisons, reflecting on teaching practices, becoming aware of new educational initiatives and above all, working to engage their learners and help them develop new alternatives in their lives.”

Kensington and Chelsea College are working closely with a number of valued partners and experienced organisations. The initiative looks to bring together and focus those who already have experience and expertise. Alongside this, KCC will also be forging new working relationships with a wide range of community, probation and education & training providers. New provision that meets the needs of offenders in custody and the community will be developed across a West London Campus to provide real opportunities for people to lead useful lives upon release and post sentence.

Sheila Porritt – Chair of Governors at KCC says: “It is a tough option to help people change but value can be measured in greater safety for us all, reduced expense for the Prison service and a change in the lives of offenders.”

Background Notes

  1. Prison education has been delivered by a number of selected providers since 1997 under contract with the Prison Service. Following a review of this vital area of work by the DfES – Prison Service, the funding for this provision has been moved to the Learning and Skills Council ( LSC), the funding and planning authority for all post 16 education in England and Wales.
  2. LSC London have appointed three Lead Providers to oversee three London Sectors.
    1. West London – Kensington and Chelsea CollegePrisons: HMP Wandsworth, Wormwood Scrubs, Latchmere House and HMP YOI Feltham
    2. North London – City & Islington CollegePrisons: HMP Holloway and HMP Pentonville
    3. South London – Lewisham CollegePrisons: HMP Brixton, HMP Belmarsh


Shanie Jamieson, Director of OLASS
Kensington and Chelsea College
Direct Tel: 0207 573 5276 or 020 7573 5237