Congratulations to our Chief Executive for making the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2020 for services to education

10 Oct 2020
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We are thrilled to announce that our Chief Executive, Jonathan Douglas, has been recognised with a CBE for his services to education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2020.

Over the past quarter of a century, Jonathan has made an outstanding contribution to raising the profile of literacy in the UK and closing the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their better-off peers.

He has progressed understanding that literacy is not just an educational issue, but that it has broad social and economic implications for the nation, and he has united parties from the worlds of education, charity, government and business to bring about real change to children’s literacy outcomes in the UK.

Jonathan has dedicated his career to improving children’s lives through literacy, starting out as a librarian for Westminster Libraries in 1996 and being appointed to his current role as Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust in 2007. For every year of Jonathan’s leadership, the charity has been able to support the literacy of increasing numbers of children and young people; growing the number of children supported tenfold from 28,632 in 2007/08 to 268,490 in 2019/20.

Jonathan established the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Literacy, the National Literacy Forum and the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge and has commissioned ground-breaking research on the relationships between literacy and poverty, social mobility, criminal justice, health and life expectancy.

Jonathan also pioneered a local approach to tackling low literacy in the communities with the greatest challenges. Having created a measure of literacy vulnerability for every ward and constituency in England with Experian, Jonathan subsequently developed a long-term approach to raising literacy levels in these communities by convening key local partners and establishing 14 National Literacy Trust Hubs across the UK.

Jonathan lives and breathes the values of the charity. Not only does he regularly take part in our fundraising events, including our annual Where’s Wally? fun run, but outside of work he is a valued Chair of Governors for St. William of York Catholic Primary School.

From everyone at the National Literacy Trust, congratulations Jonathan!

“The Board and staff of the National Literacy Trust are so delighted that Jonathan has received a richly deserved CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. We know that Jonathan is not only a great educationalist and renowned literacy expert whose energy and passion has transformed the literacy cause through his collaborative leadership of the National Literacy Trust but also that his steely determination, intellectual rigour and campaigning creativity has made a real difference to literacy in the most deprived communities through inspiring and innovative partnerships with schools, parents, health authorities, philanthropists and the private sector working together.”

Dame Julia Cleverdon DCVO CBE, our Chair of Trustees

“Jonathan is incredibly dedicated, hard-working and passionate about opening the doors of literacy for all, especially children. He has worked tirelessly with flair, creativity, determination and unfailing good humour to bring the joys of reading to hundreds of thousands of children nationwide and continues to do so. He has had and continues to have a profound and lasting positive effect on the lives of so many. Jonathan is an absolute dynamo and a great unifying force in the world of literature and I truly cannot think of anyone more deserving of an honour in recognition of his sterling services to literacy.”

Malorie Blackman OBE, former Children’s Laureate and award-winning author

“Jonathan is a committed and enthusiastic Chair of Governors. He gives his time and energy freely and generously, and his focus is always on improving outcomes for our pupils socially, academically and emotionally. The children know Jonathan by name and look forward to his visits. His visits on World Book Day are always memorable, particularly when he joined assembly as Mr Magnolia! I am delighted that Jonathan has gained the recognition he so thoroughly deserves.”

Sharon Lynch, Headteacher at St. William of York Catholic Primary School