Steering Committee

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Elected by the wider membership, the PLA steering committee exists to govern and direct the PLA’s work. The steering committee meets quarterly, chaired by Professor Tom Schuller.

Professor Tom Schuller

The steering committee is intended to be representative of the range of PLA members organisations and the roles they play in prison education. It  includes charities, education providers, academic institutions and prison staff trade unions, as well as members with lived experience of prison, as part of our commitment to learner voice.

The first set of elections to choose the members of the steering committee were held in May 2018. A total of 32 candidates contested 12 vacant seats.

The steering committee members are:

Angela Cairns

Shannon Trust

Angela Cairns

Shannon Trust

Angela joined Shannon Trust as CEO in 2015, inspired by the charity’s peer-mentored approach to unlocking the power of reading for people in prison. With a background in education and extensive leadership experience in the voluntary sector, Angela has a passion for ensuring the voices of people in prison inform policy and practice.

Rod Clark

Prisoners' Education Trust

Rod Clark

Prisoners' Education Trust

Rod joined PET as its CEO in 2013. Prior to that he built a career in the Civil Service, including a spell as principal private secretary to Alistair Darling MP. He was involved in planning the merger of the National Offender Management Service into the Ministry of Justice, and was Chief Executive of the Civil Service’s internal training organisation, the National School of Government.

Rod sat on the expert panel for Dame Sally Coates’ review of prison education and also sits on the Reducing Reoffending Third Sector Advisory Group (RR3).

Nnamdi Efobi

Sector Expert

Nnamdi Efobi

Sector Expert

Nnamdi is a Sector Expert

Chris Emmett

Weston College

Chris Emmett

Weston College

Chris Emmett is a Director of Strategy – Offender Learning at Weston College

Gareth Evans

Sector Expert

Gareth Evans

Sector Expert

Gareth is a Sector Expert

Professor Jane Hurry

Centre for Education in the Criminal Justice System, UCL Institute of Education

Professor Jane Hurry

Centre for Education in the Criminal Justice System, UCL Institute of Education

Jane is a Professor of the Psychology of Education at The Centre for Education in the Criminal Justice System, UCL Institute of Education

Dr David Maguire

Centre for Education in the Criminal Justice System, UCL Institute of Education

Dr David Maguire

Centre for Education in the Criminal Justice System, UCL Institute of Education

David is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at The Centre for Education in the Criminal Justice System, UCL Institute of Education

Jess Mullen

Clinks

Jess Mullen

Clinks

Jess is Head of Policy at Clinks

Ruth McFarlane

Open University

Ruth McFarlane

Open University

Ruth leads the Students in Secure Environments (SiSE) Team at The Open University supporting approximately 1800 students in prisons and secure hospitals who are working towards an OU degree.

The team works closely with HMPPS to agree the nature of the study support they offer; liaise with module teams and faculties to ensure that materials provided meet the security requirements and are accessible to Open University students. A key focus for Ruth and the team is developing their secure VLE and promoting access to digital study materials as this offers a much better study experience for Open University students who pay tuition fees at the same rate as mainstream students.

Maria McNicholl

St Giles Trust

Maria McNicholl

St Giles Trust

Maria McNicholl, BA, PGCE, MA is Development Manager at St Giles Trust.

She has been involved in the Prisoner Learning Alliance since its inception because she sees first-hand the powerful and positive change education can make in prisons. She has worked for St Giles Trust developing their prison based projects for 17 years and started their first flagship “Peer Advice Project” at HMP Wandsworth in 2002 training prisoners to NVQ Level 3 in Advice & Guidance and supporting them to provide advice and guidance to their peers. This programme is now delivered in 30 prisons in England and Wales and has been developed in the community to provide opportunities for people with lived experience to work in our sector. She has also contributed to pan-European projects transferring the peer model into different settings such as training peer mentors in the Roma Community in Budapest.

She has a PGCE and MA, with distinction, in prisoner education from the Institute of Education, UCL. Her work with the PLA enables her to be part of the “bigger picture” and contribute to overall strategy and development in prisoner education which is an invaluable opportunity.

Angela Nartey

University and College Union

Angela Nartey

University and College Union

Angela is Policy Officer at University and College Union

Marie-Claire O’Brien

New Leaf CIC

Marie-Claire O’Brien

New Leaf CIC

Marie-Claire is Director of New Leaf CIC

Charlie Weinberg

Safe Ground

Charlie Weinberg

Safe Ground

Charlie is Executive Director of Safe Ground

Shaun Williamson

Prison Governors Association

Shaun Williamson

Prison Governors Association

Shaun is Finance Officer at Prison Governors Association

Prisoners’ Education Trust also occupies a seat as PLA Secretariat.

© Prisoner Learning Alliance 2019

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