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News story

Celebrating our impact in our 25th anniversary year

08 Jan 2019

2018 was our 25th anniversary! The National Literacy Trust was launched in 1993, and in that time we have directly worked with 2 million children, seen a 24% increase in the number of children achieving a good level of English at GCSE and raised £10 million from business to tackle poor literacy.

We wanted to use the occasion of our 25th birthday to demonstrate why the need to raise literacy levels in the UK is more pressing than ever – and we’ve been very busy!


We released four key research reports throughout 2018, refreshing the evidence base for the prioritisation of literacy:

  • February – life expectancy: This report found that children born into communities with the most serious literacy challenges have some of the lowest life expectancies in England.
  • June – fake news and critical literacy: We chaired the Commission on Fake News and the Teaching of Critical Literacy Skills, with the final report finding that just 2% of children have the critical literacy skills they need to tell if a news story is real or fake.
  • September – mental wellbeing: We surveyed 49,047 children to explore the link between reading, writing and mental wellbeing. We found that children who enjoy reading and writing are three times more likely to have higher levels of mental wellbeing.
  • December – book ownership: This report found that the more books a child owns, the more likely they are to do well at school and be happy with their lives.


We launched three new National Literacy Trust Hubs this year in social mobility cold spots across the UK – Swindon in February, Nottingham in April and the North Yorkshire Coast in October.


We launched a fundraising appeal video fronted by broadcaster, presenter and children’s author, Clare Balding, and held our first-ever BBC Radio 4 appeal in August, voiced by Gaby Roslin, which raised a total of £15,400. We were chosen as Penguin Random House’s Charity of the Year, and were a chosen charity for the annual ICAP Charity Day, raising £70,000.

Policy work

We chaired the Commission on Fake News and the Teaching of Critical Literacy Skills in Schools, and published the final report into the topic in 2018. We were also we were announced as a founding member for the Department for Education’s new coalition, which aims to halve the number of five-year-olds who start school without good early language and communication skills by 2028.

Take a look at the #Literacy25 hashtag on Twitter for a behind-the-scenes look at what we’ve been up to!

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