The Prisoners’ Education Trust was started around a kitchen table in 1989 by David Burton, Donald McGovern and Elizabeth Andrew. All were passionate about the power of education to transform lives and the shocking lack of educational opportunities in prisons. 30 years on PET is working with every prison in England and Wales, and has provided educational opportunities to thousands of prisoners needing a second chance.

Prisoners' education trust: celebrating 30 years
View from Carnary Wharf.

We were delighted to join PET for their 30th anniversary event on Friday 14th of June at the offices of Clifford Chance LLP, Canary Wharf, London, where, as well as taking in the incredible views, we got the chance to meet many of the impressive Alumni who where present that day and hear some extraordinary and inspirational stories.

PET understood the power of distance learning from the beginning and has worked with The National Extension College since the early days. We know the difference they can make, and how education has the ability to transform lives.

It’s a testament to PET how it has matured, from its origins around a kitchen table to working with organisations such as the Open University on access routes to OU degrees for prisoners, and in 2012 setting up the Prisoner Learning Alliance, a network of organisations and individuals working together to improve and campaign for prison education through research, media work, conferences and alumni. NEC is proud to be a member of the PLA.

NEC’s mission to provide second chances for those who missed out are the perfect match for PET and we support their work in every way we can and are proud to be one of their course providers.

We want to particularly celebrate Suzan Nabbanja who has worked for PET for 15 years and is well known and respected by NEC and our staff. Suzan originally joined PET as a volunteer and then stayed on as the Grants Programme manager. During a speech at the 30th anniversary celebration, she said that ‘PET hold you with both hands and has long arms that reach across and a big heart’.

Suzan has been one of NEC’s main points of contact throughout her time there, her passion for offender learning is infectious. Everyone at PET is a delight to work with and as PET’s longest standing member of staff, we would like to thank Suzan for her hard work, dedication and tenacity through our long history of partnership – long may we continue to work together to provide quality education to people in prison.

Help PET raise £130,000 to ensure more prisoners can benefit from distance learning courses, advice and guidance. Find out more.

Read how PET and distance learning can transform lives: David Breakspear shares his experience and perspective on second-chance learning in prison. Read here

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