As our 12 month pilot of Turning Pages Digital in the Kent, Surrey and Sussex probation region comes to an end, we’re delighted that we will be able to continue working with people on probation in this region.
We developed Turning Pages Digital as part of a Prison Leavers’ Innovation Challenge contract with the Ministry of Justice to support prison leavers to learn to read.
Working with our tech partners, Yalla, we developed a digital version of our well established and successful reading programme, Turning Pages.
Turning Pages is delivered to adults in prisons to enable them to learn to read outside of formal education. Learners work with a peer mentor, using a set of analogue manuals and reading books.
By digitising our programme, we can support more learners with literacy needs or neurodivergent conditions. The tool helps them gain new skills in a different way, not only through in person learning sessions, but also through an in-tool virtual coach. This means learners are able to learn outside of structured sessions in their own time, in a way that works for them.
One year on from the start of our Turning Pages Digital pilot, we have a lot of learning and successes to look back on.
We have had our first community learner complete the entire Turning Pages Digital programme; we have built on and developed relationships with the probation service in Kent, Surrey and Sussex; and gained invaluable feedback from our community learners and reading coaches that enable us to continue to develop our digital offer.
A probation officer we have being working with had some wonderful feedback to share with us about one of their learners.
They said: “Turning pages has had such a positive impact on Mr Jones. When I first spoke to Mr Jones about Turning Pages, he seemed quite hesitant as he told me he has tried to get better with reading and writing but nothing would stick in his head.
“Now Mr Jones attends the office always asking if he will be receiving aid from Turning Pages and he always comes eager to learn and so motivated. [Mr Jones' coach] has been able to help Mr Jones with the use of his phone and this has helped me in terms of our communication, as well as this, his overall engagement has improved because of [his coach's] guidance to him regarding his phone.”
Feedback from our learners has been invaluable to us. Those that have engaged with the programme during the pilot have said they value the support of their reading coach, and the easy use of Turning Pages Digital. It’s different to formal education, and learners like having the option to work on the programme on their own, at a time that suits them.
Probation practitioners have said that learners have been more engaged when attending probation appointments, and are keen to meet with their reading coach and work through Turning Pages Digital.
We are really pleased that learners in the community are able to benefit from engaging with the digital tool and focus on developing their literacy skills.
With some of this feedback, we have been able to continue to develop our digital offer to ensure learners’ experience is tailored and personal to them.
We are really excited to be extending our work with the probation service in Kent, Surrey and Sussex to continue to offer Turning Pages Digital to all people on probation within the region, not just prison leavers.
We have some other plans in the works of how we are going to expand the use of Turning Pages Digital into the wider community, and we will share these as they unfold.
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