Education in South West prisons

In 2012, Weston College was awarded the prestigious contract to deliver educational services to offenders in prisons across the South West of England. The focus of our delivery is on transformational learning and raising aspirations to ‘Create Brighter Futures’. We develop skills for learners and deliver courses in nine prisons and one Immigration Removal Centre in the South West Region.

Prisons we deliver to

Weston College provides education services to nine prisons and one immigration removal centre across the South West of England.

HMP Bristol
HMP Channings Wood
HMP Dartmoor
HMP Eastwood Park
HMP Erlestoke
HMP Exeter
HMP Guys Marsh
HMP Leyhill
HMP Portland (YO)
HMP The Verne (IRC)

prison map

Meet the OLS Management Team

Chris Emmett

Head of Strategy Offender Learning

Chris has worked in adult education for over 25 years, holding senior management roles in several FE/HE colleges before focusing on offender learning eight years ago. Her teaching career has covered all levels, specialising in degree tutoring, as well as developing and managing a wide range of qualifications and curriculum areas, quality assurance and national FE/HE verifying roles. After five years managing the education department in a prison Chris joined Weston College in January 2013. Having studied her first science degree with the OU and then completing an MSc, Chris passionately believes in the benefits of life-long learning for all, and that offender learning really can change lives for the better. Chris has recently been appointed as an Offender Learning Ofsted inspector.

Alastair Phelpstead

Project Director, Operations, Business Planning and Performance

Alastair has been employed by Weston College since August 2012. He brings 10 years of offender learning experience. After spending six years in the nuclear electric industry, Alastair decided on a career change and joined a training provider teaching web and graphic design skills. This quickly moved into employer engagement, supporting clients into sustainable employment. Alastair was appointed as an Education Manager at HMP Gloucester where he developed an understanding and passion for offender learning, rehabilitation and resettlement. In 2008 Alastair was appointed as Project Manager for a NOMS ESF contact working on “through the gate” activities supporting offenders into employment, education and training. This gave him the opportunity to develop his skills and knowledge working with offenders in the community and also to create effective working relations with key stakeholders. Alastair is currently responsible for individual prison curriculum planning, performance data and all operational matters across South West prisons. ​

Stewart Harrison

Business and Support Services Director

Stewart joined the OLASS management team as an Area Operations Manager in November 2015. Before joining Weston College Offender Learning he was a Royal Marines’ Commando and has worked in the FE sector for the last 12 years. Stewart has a passion for, and strong track record in, supporting learners and promoting employment opportunities. Stewart has led and supported the OLASS teams and provision in HMP Eastwood Park and HMPYOI Portland to achieve “Good” Ofsted grades during recent HMIP inspections and HMP Leyhill to achieve an “Outstanding” grade. IRC The Verne also leads the way for innovative provision for detainees. Within his new role Stewart leads on employer engagement, pathways to apprenticeships, the digital agenda, the Community Interest Company “Releasing new Potential” and external contracts and projects.

Simon Emmett

Area Operations Manager

Simon is currently one of the Area Operations Managers for Weston College, overseeing the leadership and management of several prisons in the South West.  Simon has worked at Weston College since September 2013, coming from a background in working with Juvenile offenders for over eight years. Formerly employed in training in the finance sector, in January 2005 Simon embarked on a career in offender learning. Beginning as a teacher of 15-18 year olds, Simon worked at HMP Ashfield for eight years teaching a range of subjects and managing a wide ranging provision. Finding a passion for offender learning and improving the life chances of all offenders, Simon moved into curriculum management and subsequently onto Weston College. He has also worked on a number of quality improvement programmes with Ofsted, LSIS and the prison quality review boards.

Tracy Phelps

Area Operations Manager

Tracy has been part of Weston College since January 2017 coming from a background for 15 years as Director of Quality and Curriculum within FE, Work-based learning and the MOD.

Tracy is a qualified teacher and Ofsted trained, with a wealth of experience of the inspection of secure units and work-based learning provision. Tracy is also Chief Examiner and content writer for a range of awarding bodies having written qualifications on the QCF and has consulted for large employers such as Next, Serco and HIT on Strategic Improvement Projects.

Tracy is passionate about access to learning for disengaged and disadvantaged learners and is currently working on a Masters Qualification in Criminal and Forensic Psychology to enhance provision and options for the staff and offenders she works with. Tracy leads and supports the three Devon prisons with the OLASS teams and provision in HMP Channings Wood and HMP Exeter achieving “Good” Ofsted grades during recent HMIP inspections. HMP Dartmoor is supported to build on their excellent good practice. 

Daniel Niland

Area Operations Manager

Daniel has worked in offender learning for over 10 years based at HMP Leyhill and has a wealth of experience working in the prison environment. Since 2012 Daniel has worked for Weston College as the Curriculum Manager at HMP Leyhill. In partnership with the OLASS teaching and management teams and prison staff, Daniel has developed the curriculum, delivery and impact of the OLASS education at  HMP Leyhill to an exceptionally high standard whereby, in September 2016, the OLASS provision was recognised by Ofsted as “Outstanding”, one of very few prisons in the country to be awarded this grade. Daniel creates a positive and productive environment where staff can flourish and develop alongside their learners for the benefit of all. Daniel will now be extending his skills in a new role supporting a number of prisons in the SW region.

Viv Holloway

Digital Manager

Viv joined Weston College in 2012 as the Assistant Curriculum Manager at HMP Channings Wood.  During her time in HMP Channings Wood she has supported staff and learners to high levels of achievement. Working with the team, they have developed the curriculum to support learners to contribute to their community by undertaking charitable work which includes growing vegetables and herbs for a food bank and restoring bicycles for children’s training courses.

Having changed career path Viv has supported offender learning for over 15 years. She is a specialist in maths, English and IT and has gained qualifications to support learners with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (LDD). During this time Viv has gained vast experience in supporting and managing individuals and teams at all levels whilst sustaining a full curriculum to support employability for learners after custody.

As Digital Manager Viv’s goals are to ensure that the learner experience is bespoke to each individual and they develop the IT skills needed for life and work on release. Viv has also provided training for teaching staff to assist them to increase the usage of ILT in teaching and learning. Viv also works tirelessly to support access to and utilisation of the Virtual Campus in the prisons. With an ethos of Every Learner Matters, Viv ensures that current software and assistive technology is available to support learning. Viv keeps the team up to date with technological developments, security and data assurance protocols as the digital agenda expands within the secure estate and is also involved in the Foriner project. 

Chloe Fourie

Quality and Innovations Manager

Chloe started her education career working at a secondary school in Gloucestershire. As part of the Behaviour Management Team Chloe developed her passion for supporting disengaged learners. She realised that she had the ideal skill set to teach in a prison environment and started teaching at HMP Gloucester. Chloe transferred to HMP Leyhill and, with her enthusiastic and innovative teaching style, was appointed as an Advanced Practitioner. Chloe used her skills and knowledge in teaching to support improvements to the quality of the teaching, learning and assessment across the department. This relentless drive to ensure that all learners received the best possible learning experience was recognised in Ofsted awarding the OLASS provision at HMP Leyhill an “Outstanding” grade in the recent inspection. Chloe has now taken on the exciting challenge of joining the Quality Team and is already making a positive impact supporting and developing teaching across the region.

Heather Ellery

Business and Support Manager

Heather joined Weston College in 2012. She has worked in offender learning for over 11 years, with 7 years as the Curriculum Manager at HMP Eastwood Park. During this time she instigated the very successful production of “Eastwood Soaps”, which has engaged hundreds of learners in entrepreneurial business development, management and operation. This provides the opportunity for learners to develop real-life business, planning, decision making and sales skills in the management of a profitable enterprise. Heather brings a wealth of experience to her current role as she has managed her own business for 14 years. Heather now manages the “Releasing new Potential” CIC’, which includes the ‘Building Better Opportunities’ contract and social enterprises in prisons.  “Releasing new Potential” CIC is a community interest company with a key focus on supporting people in custody and those released into the community with the aim of providing services and projects to support people in leading crime-free lives.

Gemma ​Sedgwick

OLASS Administrator

Gemma became the OLASS Administrator in 2015 after working in various administrative and customer service roles. Gemma provides a comprehensive administrative and support service to the OLASS Managers, Directors and staff team and acts as a central point of communication for all matters relating to OLASS. Her interest in supporting disadvantaged learners coupled with her dedication and organisational skills ensures the smooth running of the OLASS team throughout the South West. Gemma has facilitated the implementation of numerous projects and events for OLASS and has built up an excellent working knowledge of both prison and college processes.

Clarice Jopling 

LDD Manager

Clarice joined the Management Team in June 2017 as Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Manager. Having completed an Honours Degree in Psychology and a Master of Education in Special Educational Needs, Clarice then studied a PGCE in English and has worked within education for the last three years.

Clarice’s specialisms lie within Attachment Disorder, Autism and Emotional Behavioural Difficulties and her passion for working with disengaged learners grew from her work as an Assistant Psychologist within the public sector. Clarice’s role encompasses overseeing the provision for learners with additional needs, across all of the prisons under the Weston College umbrella.

Jobs - could you teach in prisons?


Viv Holloway

Assistant Curriculum Manager, HMP Channings Wood

Offender Learning offers a variety of roles, challenges and rewards. From teaching through to senior management, the challenges are demanding but the most rewarding I have had in all of my career. Starting as a teacher in 2002, I have seen many changes within offender learning; however, the ethos has always been the same – the learner comes first. 

Putting the learner first can, at times, be difficult within the prison environment. At Weston College we ensure we engage the learner from the time they come into the prison. Each learner is an individual with individual learning experiences, many being disaffected and not attending school from a young age. Part of the skill working in offender learner is to appease their fear of learning. If you have the ability to be creative, and inspire learners as well as delivering outstanding quality lessons, then you would gain personally as well as professionally by taking on a role in offender learning.

If you have first-class skills in problem solving, clear communication skills and also a never ending supply of patience, then this is the place for you.


Click here to view Weston College current job vacancies

forward futures

Forward Futures

Forward Futures is Weston College’s in-house recruitment agency, which offers assignments to those interested in teaching within the prisons on an ad-hoc basis. Assignments can be for sickness or holiday cover and occasionally short-term on-going delivery on a particular course.

Whether you’re new to Further Education or just looking for a change, then Forward Futures can offer advice and guidance, keep you updated with all the latest positions and offer competitive rates of pay.

To find out more about the exceptional opportunities that could come your way contact us now.

Our current vacancies are available at:

Forward Futures
Knightstone Road
​North Somerset
BS23 2AL

Telephone: 01934 411 661


Click here to view Forward Futures current job vacancies

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