University wins The Herald Higher Education Partnership Award

Recognition for link-up with Scottish Prison Service and Fife College 

Date posted

15 July 2016


Last updated

8 December 2021

A project which involves students working closely with prisoners on literacy issues has been honoured at the prestigious Herald Higher Education Awards.

Edinburgh Napier was awarded the Partnership Award for its work led by Dr Anne Schwan with the Scottish Prison Service and Fife College.

Set up in 2011, the partnership sees undergraduates do placements in HMP Edinburgh’s education department, where the students work alongside prison education staff. Prisoners get one-to-one tuition from student volunteers in basic literacy, English language and creative writing.

The project has its roots in Dr Schwan’s research interests in reading and writing in prisons, and so far a total of 32 students have participated in the placement scheme.

The scheme is primarily for students on the BA (Hons) English and BA (Hons) English & Film at Edinburgh Napier, although the formal agreement technically makes this placement open to other students at the University.

The University was also shortlisted for the Student Support Team of the Year award for the Student Futures initiative.

Sandra Cairncross, Assistant Principal for Student Experience, said: "I was delighted that we were shortlisted in two categories and am even more delighted that our partnership with Scottish Prison Service and Fife College won the Partnership Award. 

“This is an exciting initiative whereby students on our English degree volunteer at HMP Edinburgh to work with prisoners to develop literacy skills.

"Both our students and the prisoners they are working with benefit from this collaboration through developing a range of transferable skills. We are looking to develop this partnership further through involving students on other courses."

Alastair Sim, director of Universities Scotland, who presented the Partnership Award, said: “Congratulations to Edinburgh Napier University on winning this category.

"These awards are a fitting recognition for the tremendous work being produced by Scotland’s higher education sector." 

The awards – which are also supported by QAA Scotland, Universities Scotland, Anderson Strathern, technology provider Jisc, City of Glasgow College, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), media company ABSOLUTE and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) – were hosted by Scottish broadcaster Sally Magnusson at an event at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow.