Gateway Qualifications is delighted to have been chosen by the Ministry of Justice as the sole Awarding Organisation for the provision of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) for Prison Education, following a competitive tender process.

The Colchester-based Awarding Organisation was chosen ahead of several larger competitors as the Ministry of Justice recognised that the organisation’s learner-centred approach to qualification design and commitment to excellent customer service was ideal for the unique needs of prisoners and prison education providers.

Responding to the announcement, Chief Executive Officer, Carol Snape, said:

“I am delighted that Gateway Qualifications has been chosen to work with the Ministry of Justice to provide ESOL qualifications to prisons in England. The award of this contract recognises the high quality of our qualification development, the relevance and accessibility of our assessment methodologies and the robust, standards-driven processes that underpin our work.

“We look forward to working with the prison education providers to help prepare offenders to enter meaningful employment so that on release they are able to make an effective contribution to society and break the cycle of re-offending.”

Gateway Qualifications has delivered ESOL for over 15 years and has extensive experience working with providers in secure and community settings, offering ESOL, English and maths, Functional Skills, employability, vocational and personal development qualifications.

Gateway Qualifications’ flexibly designed qualifications are ideal for the secure environment as they have been developed with accessibility at the core to ensure that all learners are able to fulfil their potential. They can also be embedded within vocational content, enabling learners to demonstrate their English skills whilst learning or participating in a practical skill. Support materials providing examples of activities which support embedded learning are provided. Gateway Qualifications’ personalised service and excellent customer care also ensures that learners are not disadvantaged if they move between prisons mid-course and makes the process as simple as possible for the learning providers too.

Nearly one third of prisoners self-identify on initial screening as having a learning difficulty and/or disability so using Gateway Qualifications’ ESOL qualifications will benefit prison education providers as the qualifications minimise the need for reasonable adjustments/special considerations through an inclusive approach to assessment for all learners. Where reasonable adjustments and special consideration are required, Centres can authorise these for internally marked assessments (Entry Level 1 to Level 1) with applications to Gateway Qualifications only required for externally marked assessments at Level 2.

Find out more about Gateway Qualifications’ ESOL qualifications here