Independent Literacy Inquiry
NIACE has co-ordinated an independent Inquiry into Adult and Youth Literacy in England, which invited evidence from employers, policy-makers, practitioners and learners. The final report of the year long Inquiry - Work Society and Lifelong Literacy - is now available.
The final report of the year long independent Inquiry into Adult and Youth Literacy in England: Work Society and Lifelong Literacy is now available. The Inquiry has been led by Lord Boswell, a former Conservative education minister and long-standing supporter of adult learning. Employers, policy-makers, practitioners, academics and learners have contributed evidence to the Inquiry co-ordinated by NIACE.
There are an estimated 5.2 million adults in England who do not have the literacy skills to enable them to function effectively in modern society. Nearly 10 years after the Skills for Life Strategy was launched, much has been achieved over the past decade in relation to adult literacy in England through the Skills for Life strategy, which leaves a lasting legacy. However, there is still unfinished business and unmet need. A new government, in a new domestic and global context, seeks new solutions to the challenges which we face in balancing individual need and social and economic demands.
The report of the Inquiry makes seven key policy recommendations to address lifelong literacy in England and was published on International Literacy Day, 8 September 2011.
Lord Boswell said:
"When NIACE asked me to chair an independent Commission to look at adult literacy, I was delighted to accept. The topic has been a strong personal interest of my wife and myself for many years.
Our basic message is that we need to keep up our national investment in adult literacy, not just for economic reasons, but because in today’s world no one can function fully without good communication skills. We should all be concerned that such exclusion contributes to personal misery and civil dysfunction. The causes are complex, and so must the remedies, requiring attention to pedagogy, a holistic approach to family literacy, and challenge initiatives to tap into the creativeness of society as a whole, while of course maintaining existing effort through colleges and at the workplace.
The fact that this is far from simple does not excuse us from a failure to attempt it. We have a moral duty to do so, until the job is finished, and this becomes a problem of the past, rather than, as now, a scar on our society."
Carol Taylor, Director of Research and Development at NIACE, said:
"Much progress has been made in improving the literacy skills of adults in England, including the hard work and dedication of teachers, but there is still much to be done. With the resources at our disposal in this country surely we must be able to give everyone the skills of adequate literacy to help them to work, engage with society and give their children the best possible start in life. These recommendations, made after months of listening, examining and discussing the evidence from tutors, learners, researchers and policy-makers, must be implemented if we are to achieve the vision of a literate nation for all."
Background information relating to the Inquiry
Summary of evidence considered by the Inquiry
Practitioner focus groups and contributors
Expert seminars and contributors
Glossary of terms used in the report
What other countries do in adult literacy work which might inform development in England
What other countries do to stay at the top of education league tables
Papers of evidence received by the Inquiry
Early Years Literacy
A Local Authority perspective
Adult and youth literacy in Ireland
Family learning and health literacy
Offenders and literacy
Reading for pleasure 1
Reading for pleasure 2
Third sector / literacy and civil society
Volunteers and their role in literacy provision
Workplace literacy 1
Workplace Literacy 2