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Children and young people’s writing in 2024

Added 04 Jun 2024

Writing in notebook on lap

This report outlines findings from our 2024 Annual Literacy Survey, exploring children and young people’s writing enjoyment at school and in their free time.

This report is based on 76,131 responses to our Annual Literacy Survey from children and young people aged 5 to 18 in schools across the UK in early 2024. Findings show that writing enjoyment levels are at their lowest since 2010.

Key findings in 2024:

  • Fewer than 3 in 10 (28.7%) children and young people aged 8 to 18 said that they enjoy writing in their free time.
    • Levels of writing enjoyment have decreased by 18.1 percentage points over the past 14 years, with levels decreasing by 5.9 percentage points over the past year alone.
    • Enjoyment levels dropped for all children and young people in 2024, but the drop was particularly pronounced for boys aged 5 to 8, with levels decreasing by 11.9 percentage points between 2023 and 2024.
    • Twice as many children and young people aged 8 to 18 said that they enjoyed writing at school than in their free time in 2024 (53.6% vs. 28.7%).
  • Just 1 in 9 (11.1%) children and young people told us that they wrote something daily in their free time.
    • Daily writing levels halved between 2023 and 2024, decreasing from 19.3% of children and young people writing daily to 11.1%.
    • The drop was more pronounced for children and young people aged 11 to 16 than for those aged 5 to 8.
  • Of children and young people aged 8 to 18 who wrote at least once a month, 3 in 5 (59.1%) did so to be creative, while 1 in 2 (52.8%) wrote to express their ideas and imagination (52.8%) or their thoughts and feelings (47.7%).
    • Many also wrote to support their mental wellbeing, with 2 in 5 (40.4%) writing to relax and 1 in 3 (33.1%) because it made them feel happy.

Findings show that children and young people’s enjoyment of writing, and frequency of writing in their free time, is at an unprecedented low. Increasing evidence of a long-term downward trend calls for urgent action to reconnect children and young people with writing that promotes connection with creativity, self-expression and mental wellbeing.

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