Ex-offenders learn to read through Toe by Toe scheme

Thank you card to a Langley project from a resident who can now read through a Toe by Toe reading scheme run at the project.

Thank you card from Langley resident after the Toe by Toe scheme helped him to learn to read

Langley House Trust has been running an innovative Toe by Toe reading scheme since 2013 to help ex-offenders learn to read. In 2014-15, 90 individuals went through Toe by Toe and learned to read, resulting in turnarounds in their confidence and motivation to change.

“The scheme has had a significant impact,” said Catherine De Souza, Head of Programmes. “It has helped our residents get to grips with reading and grow in their confidence and self-belief. One of the most beneficial outcomes of the scheme is seeing the confidence of individuals grow, which in turn supports their motivation to live crime-free.”

The National Audit Office found that only around a fifth of prisoners with serious literacy or numeracy needs enrolled on a course that would help them.* Consequently, there is a huge demand for literacy schemes like this – both within prison and on release.

The Toe by Toe scheme has previously been funded by the Bell Foundation who exist to change lives and overcome exclusion through language education.

“The impact of Toe by Toe is seen in people like Daniel,” Catherine explains.** “He was bullied at school, suffered from mental illness and spent most of his life in secure hospitals. He had very little confidence when he came to Langley and had huge insecurities around learning.

“Since engaging with Toe by Toe though, his confidence has expanded beyond his wildest dreams. He is engaging in learning, completed a Maths GCSE and has passed his driving theory test. He now wants to go university. This is a significant turnaround for someone who had little sense of his self-worth.”

Langley will continue to run Toe by Toe across its schemes as part of its wider rehabilitation support, ,which helps men and women to live crime-free.

*National Audit Office (2008) Meeting needs? The Offenders Learning and Skills Service, London: The Stationary Office

**name changed for confidentiality