The Maths Mentor pilot ran from September 2012 to March 2013. We trained mentors in two prisons who were confident in their maths skills to informally support other prisoners who lacked confidence in maths – both on the wing to help with money management and in the prison classroom. The project was led by NIACE, one of the two organisations which merged to formed Learning and Work Institute – and funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Mentors were trained and provided with learning activities booklets and equipment so that they could promote maths learning and provide one-to-one support to other prisoners on the wing, and in maths classes or vocational workshops. Mentors, together with prison staff, successfully supported other prisoners to handle everyday maths situations, helped them to become more confident about their own mathematical ability, encouraged them to join maths classes, and acted as informal classroom assistants.
The Maths Mentor idea has since been promoted in other prisons around England; we hope that this handbook and associated resources will enable individual prisons to set up their own projects.