Why are we needed?
Around a quarter of all children left primary school last year unable to read well. These children are at a disadvantage because they are unable to access their secondary education properly, and this has lifelong consequences.
Good literacy at an early age improves academic achievement and this leads to greater opportunities of all kinds in adulthood. Unfortunately the statistics on UK reading ability are stark:
- One in four children left primary school in 2019 unable to read to the required standard. School closures caused by the Covid crisis will almost certainly have made this statistic worse.
- Nearly one in six 15 year-olds in England does not have a minimum level of proficiency in literacy.
- Children who are the most engaged with reading and writing are three times more likely to have higher levels of mental wellbeing than children who are the least engaged.
- Around one in six adults (that's 5.8 million people) in England and Northern Ireland score at the lowest level of proficiency in literacy. This means they are unable to read a medicine label, follow a timetable, or interpret simple written instructions.
Research suggests that there could be a strong link between raising levels of childhood literacy and lowering the risk of offending.
- Sadly nearly half of people entering the prison system have literacy skills lower than those expected of an 11-year-old.
- A quarter of young offenders have reading skills below those of the average 7-year-old.
1. National curriculum assessments at Key Stage 2 in England, 2019 (provisional), www.gov.uk, updated 13th December 2019, Department for Education
2. Department for Education (2013), Achievement of 15-Year-Olds in England: PISA 2012 National Report, p.66
3. 'Mental wellbeing, reading and writing' Report from The Literacy Trust, October 2018
4 . OECD (2013), England & Northern Ireland (UK), Country Note -Survey of Adult Skills first results p.65.
5. OLASS English and Maths assessments: participation 2014/15, (2015) based on 74,300 prisoners assessed on entering prison since August 2014