Tackling the UK's illiteracy epidemic

 
Jonathan Douglas
The New Term Begins For Students At Oxford University
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The UK has a growing literacy and social mobility crisis.

The scale of the problem is immense. In fact, research from the National Literacy trust and Experian has shown that 86 per cent of all constituencies in England have serious literacy issues.

This isn’t an issue our education system can fix alone.

Level playing field

UK business must be at the heart of efforts to create a society where talented young people have the same opportunities to fulfil their potential, no matter what their background is.

Business has a powerful role to play in reducing the UK’s literacy gap by helping children and young people – its future workforce – gain the skills they need to get a good job and have a successful life.

Children who have low literacy skills at a young age typically fail to get good grades at school and are locked out of the job market, stunting their social mobility.

The pledge

The Literacy Business Pledge 2018 aims to tackle this problem, and last night UK business leaders gathered in London to show their support of the initiative.

Established in 2015 by the National Literacy Forum, the pledge gives UK businesses the support they need to tackle literacy problems in their workplace, local community, and on a national level.

Businesses that sign up to the pledge will be able to access to in-depth analysis of the literacy challenges facing local communities in order to help businesses target their work.

Companies will also benefit from toolkits and resources to facilitate literacy activities with staff, customers and local schools.

Plugging the gap

Major organisations, including KPMG, Costa, PwC and the Premier League, are in support of the initiative, and the secretary of state for education, Justine Greening, commended the 54 business who have already signed up: “there is more to do to tackle social mobility and businesses have a vital role to play in this, so it is encouraging to see so many leading organisations signing the vision for Literacy Business Pledge.”

Next year’s pledge will focus on closing the attainment gap among young children to try to give them the best possible start in life, therefore nurturing our future workforce in the process.