We are an innovative maths charity, working in prisons across the U.K to improve prisoners numeracy skills

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One to One maths has been in operation since 2014 and we now operate in at HM Prisons Featherstone, Hewell, Long Lartin, Oakwood, and Usk where we are now helping over 10% of their prisoners

The partnership between prison officers, education staff and prisoners together with the dedication of the lead mentor has resulted in this project being an outstanding success. Here is some of the feedback

From Mentee learners

“I would like to say that the One to One maths is amazing, and it is helping me and many others. I can’t wait to do more with One to One –thanks you millions”.

“I found the course very good for me and I had a stroke last year. It helped me to learn maths again as I has forgotten all my maths”.

“My mentor helped me a lot and it is very helpful for people like me”.

“Very helpful, I feel that I am benefitting already and am on my second book. The tutor and the mentors are helpful and approachable – top marks”.

“One to One Maths learning is helping me a lot as I am not very good at maths. The time spent is good for everything in life”.

“One to One Maths gave me the tools and the capability to achieve success, and now I am using these skills to mentor my colleagues”.

“One to One Maths has changed my life. Thank you all so very much”.

From Mentors

“One to One maths gives me great satisfaction to help others learn more and to see their joy when grasping different methods of learning maths. I am impressed by John Sidwell’s commitment and enthusiasm to push One to One Maths and to expand it”.

“The take up of One to One Maths and the feedback from users is really good and encouraging. The scheme has also encouraged people to go further onto GCSE courses, giving them the basic skills and a stepping stone to go onto the next level. Let’s hope this scheme continues to grow and gets the support that it needs, which is sometimes lacking”.

“Very encouraging, all my learners are enthusiastic and are prepared to put themselves out to achieve. I have learnt a lot about maths and the inclusion of maths in everyday life”.

“Overall very positive. I have been surprised just how the learners enjoy it, whereas learning to read seems more or a chore. One to One Maths has introduced some prisoners to maths for the first time. Some of the prisoners use the scheme as a run up to GCSE”.

Statement by Chris Haggett Learning and Skills Manager HMP Long Lartin

Prior to One two One Maths, numeracy within prison workplaces was virtually non-existent. Support for maths was severely lacking. A recent ‘Training Needs Analysis’ of our prisoner population identified that approximately 47% of our prisoners population “May not be able to check the pay and deductions on a wage slip” – and these are people who were expected to leave prison and find employment. It was around this time that I became aware of One to One Maths – a registered charity set up by John Sidwell and his colleague Don Gillanders, virtually from their own accord and without any Government or public backing! John’s enthusiasm for helping prisoners to improve their maths skills is apparent and his motivation is unyielding and transmissible!

We began by holding a number of meetings with staff and prisoners in order to raise awareness of the initiative and identify suitable prisoners to become maths mentors.

We now have 19 dedicated prisoner mentors who are employed throughout a range of work areas within the prison. Mentoring takes place in a range of workshops . In this way prisoners can develop their maths skills in a way that enables them to see how it is applicable to tasks related to employment.

One to One Maths has received a great response from prisoners and staff who recognise the benefits of this great initiative. The branding, promotional items (plastic mug and blue T-shirt) and learning materials are very good quality and this adds to the appeal of the programme as prisoners take pride in engaging with the process.

Not only is this initiative great for developing maths skills amongst prisoners but it also helps to build confidence and develop mentoring skills. I have seen mentors develop as a result of this and some have used their own time to design resources and promotional information in relation to maths mentoring.

We are now developing links within the Education department so that prisoners can be referred directly once they reach a specific stage in their development. This way, One to One Maths serves as a ‘stepping stone’ into the main Educational curriculum.

I am a complete advocate for this mentoring programme and I recommend One to One Maths to all colleagues in Offender Learning.

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