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News story

National Literacy Trust launches three-year strategy

26 Mar 2024

Photo of Joanna Prior Chair and Jonathan Douglas CEO - March 2024

Today we have launched our new, three-year strategy: Changing Stories Together. How we’ll empower more people with literacy skills for life between 2024-2027.

Our Strategy Read our National Literacy Trust 2024 manifesto

In our 30th anniversary year, the strategy acknowledges new and nuanced challenges in tackling low levels of literacy and presents solutions to meet these changing demands.

Our CEO Jonathan Douglas said: ‘The literacy skills we need to thrive as individuals, communities and a nation are at a higher level and more complex than ever before. As a result, we need to evolve and grow as an organisation and our ambitious, new strategy takes everything we’ve learned, all the evidence and evaluation we’ve collated over the past thirty years and builds on this knowledge, so we have the tools and the focus to meet the needs of the most marginalised in our society. Our strategy articulates the change we want to see and how we will deliver that change.

He continued: ‘Technology is changing what it means to be literate. Long periods out of school during the pandemic and the closure of many early years settings has had a serious impact on the early speech, language and communication development of babies and toddlers from disadvantaged communities. Child poverty is rising at the fastest rate in a decade, and we know that child poverty leads to low literacy.

Partnerships are critical to the way we make change happen and all of our partners' support for the work we do is needed now more than ever.’

The strategy outlines four ways from 2024-2027 in which we will work to empower people with the literacy skills they need to succeed in life:

  1. By directly supporting literacy skills and building confidence. Bringing information and support directly to the people who need it the most. Whether it’s tips for a new parent on talking to their baby or working with schools to bring a teenager who finds reading boring a selection of free books and working with the criminal justice system to offer an adult without literacy skills encouragement and classes that will make a difference to their life chances.
  2. By helping professionals increase the level of literacy provision. Supporting and inspiring early years practitioners, teachers, librarians and tutors offering them evidence-based approaches, training, free resources.
  3. By standing side-by-side with communities to tackle literacy inequality. By 2027, 20 Literacy Hubs will be established in the places with the worst experiences of literacy and poverty in the UK. Local teams working in partnership with these communities will bring together businesses, education, community groups, health and cultural organisations to improve local literacy levels.
  4. By influencing leadership and policy to create lasting change. Ensuring literacy is a priority for national and local government policy that determines how education is delivered. Working with leaders in the business community and developing the role they play as employers and as corporate citizens to help deliver our mission.

Three changes have been identified in the strategy which would have the biggest impact on delivering our vision for a more equal society driven by literacy:

  1. Literacy to Grow. Every child starts school with language and communication skills ready to grow and learn at school.
  2. Literacy to Learn. Every young person, wherever they grow up, leaves school with literacy skills for life.
  3. Literacy to Thrive. Everyone leaving the criminal justice system has improved literacy skills to help them thrive.

The new strategy builds on the success of our Libraries for Primaries campaign, which aims to ensure every primary school in the UK has a library or dedicated library space. It also puts a new focus on literacy in the early years as demonstrated by the launch of our Early Words Matter campaign earlier this year, the aim of which is to empower families to grow their child’s literacy and communication skills right from the start.

Joanna Prior, our Chair said: ‘What the National Literacy Trust has achieved in the past thirty years to help drive social mobility and tackle regional inequality is quite remarkable and the mission is still as critical and powerful as ever. As the literacy landscape changes, we need a new, bold and ambitious strategy that will shape the Trust’s work and deliver even more impact in the coming years. I am immensely proud to chair the Trust and I look forward to seeing what can be achieved with powerful partnerships and strategic vision.’

Changing Stories Together. How we’ll empower more people with literacy skills for life between 2024-2027 can be read in full here.

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