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Literacy and access

Boys in library.jpg

Literacy levels in the UK are closely related to socioeconomic circumstances, which in turn can have an impact on access to crucial materials needed to build literacy skills. This might include access to books at home, library provision, or even access to the technology needed to learn at home during school closures.

Key statistics

  • In 2021, almost 6% of children and young people said they didn’t have a book of their own at home – this equates to 413,068 children and young people in the UK. Find out more.
  • 40% of primary schools reported having no dedicated school library budget. Find out more.
  • In secondary schools, under half (48.4%) of pupils have access to an iPad or laptops and just two in five (39.3%) have access to a desktop computer. Find out more.

COVID-19 and access

Remote teaching highlighted inequalities in access when it came to resources, with many families lacking the provision they needed in terms of devices, data and space. Find out more.

Latest research into access

What else we know about access

  • Pupils eligible for free school meals are more likely than their peers who are not eligible for free school meals to use their school library daily (66.5% vs. 60.3%). Find out more.
  • Audiobooks and podcasts can offer access to stories for those who struggle with print texts. Find out more.
  • Fewer children and young people who receive free school meals (FSM) have said that they had a writer visit compared with their peers who don’t receive FSM (23.7% vs. 27.6%). Find out more.

Our work around access