APril 14 – Literacy Leaders day- new thoughts

As it happens, the 14th of April was Leaders in Literacy.    Andreas Schleicher Director, Directorate for Education and Skills blogged about the findings of the OECD survey of adult skills and what nations might do about the findings. It made me think about the outcomes I would want from a nationwide strategy on adult literacy.  Many things would be pretty standard

  • Making sure people knew what provision was available, via a national campaign
  • Continuing to  build and support a capable workforce
  • Informing our practice, policy and investment from data; data on programmes
  • Ensuring learners in programmes make progress and are equipped to transition to higher levels of study
  • Working with stakeholders to ensure quality programmes across the system, fit for the diverse purposes of adult lives
  • Developing a research programme that informs practice and policy
  • Growing uptake from most vulnerable and high risk or high need learner

What we don’t have yet is any cross-sector commitment to making a difference. Imagine if a national strategy included:

  •  Working with partners to ensure all government departments and services know about and respond appropriately to the literacy needs of their constituents or clients
  • Working across sectors to reduce the pipeline of young people leaving school with insufficient literacy
  • Commitment to raise the early oral language and school readiness of all our children.

 Thought leaders for literacy in the USA were commenting also, primarily on the schooling system. Their comments resonate with my observations from the Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship

  •  Low literacy and poverty are inextricably linked
  • Cross sector partnerships and collective impact thinking is needed if we are going to make a difference
  • The adult literacy world needs to support and contribute to community-led reading improvement initiatives
  • We all need to think inter-generationally – school reading initiatives or tertiary programmes for individuals are insufficient in themselves to tackle the cycle of intergenerational literacy
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