Number of businesses pledging to tackle nation’s literacy challenge soars to 74

13 Feb 2019
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74 leading businesses have signed the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge 2019, committing to tackle the UK’s literacy challenge where they can make the biggest impact – in their workforces, in the local communities where they operate and by contributing to national campaigns.

Throughout 2019, businesses including John Lewis, the Premier League and easyJet will take part in activities that will help to close the literacy gap and boost social mobility. These range from events to promote reading with children and new volunteering opportunities for employees, to helping parents support their child’s learning at home and funding national literacy research.

The Vision for Literacy Business Pledge was established in 2015 by the National Literacy Forum and is led by us in partnership with KMPG. In this time, the pledge has boosted the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of some of the most disadvantaged children and families in the UK. In 2018 alone:

  • 74% of businesses delivered literacy programmes in nurseries and schools
  • 37% gifted books to children and parents
  • 32% created a book club or library for employees
  • 21% delivered literacy training for staff
  • 5% funded national research to identify key literacy issues in the UK

Since its launch, the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge has seen a 73% increase in the number of signatories, indicating that UK business is increasingly recognising the role it can play in tackling the UK’s literacy challenge. New signatories for 2019 include Lancôme, News Corp and Oxford University Press.

The Business Pledge also has the backing of the Department for Education, who last year established a coalition of businesses, charities, media and tech organisations with an ambition to halve by 2028 the proportion of children who finish reception year without the early literacy, language and communication skills they need to thrive.

“The Vision for Literacy Business Pledge is a great example of government, businesses and the voluntary sector working together in our shared ambition to improve the outcomes for every child, no matter their background. Those who have already signed up to this pledge share this vision and this is an important first step – I look forward to seeing what more businesses can do in this area so that every child gets the best possible chance in life.”

Damian Hinds, Education Secretary