Every Contact Counts - Prison Officer Education in Ireland

Fionnuala Brennan, Cathal Ryan, Raphael O’Keeffe

Research output: Contribution to conferencePresentation


The Higher Certificate in Arts in Custodial Care (HCCC) is the entry-level qualification requirement for all new Recruit Prison Officers in the Irish Prison Service (IPS). It is a Level 6 two-year blended learning programme jointly developed and delivered by the Irish Prison Service College (IPSC) and Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT). In late 2018, Ireland’s National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education offered a funding
stream for programme enhancement, through which the HCCC team were successful in procuring funding for the ‘Every Contact Counts’ project. The project began in April 2019 and seeks to address the challenges unique to the programme context, design and delivery. Following ethical approval, the first phase of the project comprised qualitative analysis with programme staff. The following paper presents the context of prison officer education in Ireland, the underlying philosophy of the HCCC and the findings of this research as they relate to the online elements of programme delivery. It is important to note however that the topic of online delivery within the programme represented less than 10% of focus group data. The more dominant topics of discussion were the challenges and opportunities of delivering at Level 6, embedding teaching and learning in the work practice of custodial care, and managing the unique dynamic that these elements bring to the face-to-face classroom. From an online perspective, the experience of the participants reflected (in part) a study of Irish academics’ perspectives on professional development (Slowey, Kozina & Tan, 2014). Participants recognised a need to upskill for online delivery but lacked the time or a sense of ‘academic capital’ to engage in teaching and learning professional development. It is hoped that the development of policies
for digital teaching and learning (National Forum, 2018) will pave the way for a co-ordinated and strategic approach that will facilitate staff professional development in online teaching and learning.
Original languageEnglish (Ireland)
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event2019 ICDE World Conference on Online Learning - Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 28 Oct 2019 → …


Conference2019 ICDE World Conference on Online Learning
Period28/10/2019 → …


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