Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall supports our campaign to improve literacy levels in Stoke-on-Trent

28 Nov 2017
HRH in Stoke

On Tuesday 28 November, our Patron Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall visited Stoke-on-Trent to celebrate the work of the National Literacy Trust Hub in the city with school children, authors and local organisations.

The Stoke-on-Trent Hub is one of our seven UK place-based initiatives bringing together local partners to tackle literacy issues in their community. Led by us and Stoke-on-Trent City Council in partnership with the City Learning Trust, the Stoke-on-Trent Hub is branded as Stoke Reads and encompasses a range of programmes and activities to promote reading and raise literacy levels.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall met beneficiaries and partners of the Hub at Stoke City Football Club’s bet365 stadium. Her Royal Highness:

  • Joined an event with over 200 pupils from eight local schools to recognise their reading achievements and celebrate their favourite books. The event was attended by top authors whose books are on the city’s Stoke 100 Reads and Stoke Reads On book lists, including Liz Pichon, Bali Rai, Andy Stanton and Kate Leake.
  • Visited the Stoke-on-Trent library service’s Little Library Van and shared stories with a group of pupils.
  • Met key local partners and representatives from businesses who are championing literacy in Stoke-on-Trent at a reception event. Secondary school teachers who have taken part in our professional development training also shared their successes in improving literacy at their schools. 

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, says:
“Since launching Stoke Reads last year, we have formed innovative partnerships with local schools, businesses and organisations, which are vital to raising literacy levels in the city. We are delighted that our Patron The Duchess of Cornwall visited Stoke-on-Trent to support our work with these partners and to celebrate the fantastic reading achievements of local pupils.”

Councillor Janine Bridges, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for education and economy, says:

“Stoke Reads is already proving a great success story for the city, and builds on existing work to improve communication and literacy levels in our young children. Language and literacy skills are paramount in helping to equip young people to learn and succeed as they grow up. Our primary schools are all working very hard in introducing literacy skills as early as possible. As a consequence they are recording positive results in improving reading levels. The Duchess of Cornwall’s visit is fantastic recognition of this work.”

Stoke City Football Club is supporting the Stoke Reads campaign. The club delivers literacy activity as part of Premier League Primary Stars and has held several reading and writing-focused events.

Tony Scholes Chief Executive of Stoke City Football Club says:
“Being able to positively impact the literacy levels of Key Stage 2 children across the city has become a crucial aspect of our Primary Stars delivery. We are delighted to host this event and look forward to continuing our partnership work with the National Literacy Trust and Stoke Reads to further ensure children have meaningful opportunities across Stoke-on-Trent to develop their literacy skills.”

Carl Ward, CEO of the City Learning Trust added:
“We are thrilled to welcome HRH The Duchess of Cornwall to help us to raise awareness around the importance of literacy skills. Some excellent work has been put into practice with Stoke Reads which is helping to enhance the reading achievements of local pupils.”

Since launching in November 2016, highlights of the Stoke Reads campaign include:

  • Launching story packs on the neonatal ward at Stoke Royal University Hospital, which are given to the parents of premature babies. The packs include a copy of Guess How Much I Love You and tips on supporting the development of newborns.
  • Delivering professional development training to secondary school teachers in Stoke-on-Trent, which will help them to improve literacy at their schools.
  • Creating a book list of 101 books for young people to read at secondary school and beyond, following on from the Stoke 100 Reads list of books to read at primary school.
  • Delivering fun football-themed literacy events for pupils and families in partnership with Stoke City Football Club.
  • Giving out over 3,000 free books to children across the city to inspire them to enjoy reading.
  • Running engaging competitions for pupils with Emma Bridgewater and Autonet Insurance.

To find out more about Stoke Reads visit stokereads.org.uk.