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News story

We launch the Local Literacy Leaders’ Network

30 Oct 2020

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Last week, we launched the Local Literacy Leaders’ Network, a national network for local leaders. It aims to bring leaders together to share their experiences, learn from each other, and become a platform for place-based success stories.

The network will support and inspire leaders as they address the literacy needs of children, young people and families living in our most deprived areas.

Over 60 campaigners and literacy leaders tuned in to the digital announcement of the new system, which highlighted the importance of bespoke community strategies.

Guest speakers Brian McClendon and Hayling Price from Harlem Children’s Zone discussed the unique challenges of effecting change on the ground and the importance of working with people at the centre of a community. It was inspiring to hear from them about their approach and what they’ve learnt over the years. For them, it’s all about “saturating one place” and making sure they are focused on “influencing many people deeply in the places that matter most”.

We also heard from Jonathan Lewis, Director of Education at Peterborough City Council. He was involved in setting up the Peterborough Hub and had some learnings to share about how the Hub has developed over the years. The Hub in Peterborough has been so successful thanks to the co-created, cross sector, long term approach which has also been focused on place. This has been delivered alongside a successful city wide campaign which encouraged reading for pleasure.

We believe if you’re going to change literacy in the United Kingdom at the moment, it’s absolutely essential that place based solution foundation for change. Unless we engage with communities, national challenge will never be addressed.

Jonathan Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust

Our place-based Hubs model, which we first launched in Middlesbrough in 2013, has shown this community-first approach can help give children the best start in life, close the early years attainment gap, and support and complement the work of local authorities.

At the event we launched our report on The impact of place-based approach on literacy outcomes in the early years. The report analysed the impact of the three longest running Hubs: Middlesbrough, Bradford and Peterborough.

The evidence also suggests that Hubs played an important role in supporting local authorities to improve early years provision. Across every data set, local authority improvements in early years outcomes were higher than improvements seen in the national average.

The full report is available to read and download here.

We currently have 14 Hubs in the UK, all multi-agency partnerships created alongside the communities they serve. The Local Literacy Leaders’ network makes a commitment to support not just the existing Hubs but people working on the development of regional and local approaches to literacy and inequality in communities across the country.

The network of local authority leads, public sector leaders and third-sector leaders focusing on local areas will meet for the first time at 2pm on 9 December.

For more information and to register interest, please email Alice Birdwood.

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