Literacy for Life - new programme announced

Disadvantaged pupils are to be taught the academic language they need to understand the secondary school curriculum.

The National Literacy Trust has launched an innovative programme which will equip pupils with the academic language they need to succeed across the curriculum whilst encouraging them to enjoy reading at an event on 14 July.

Literacy for Life aims to narrow the gap between pupils who are eligible for free school meals and their peers by addressing a language and literacy deficit which many children from disadvantaged backgrounds have when they start secondary school.

The programme, which has received £1m funding from the JJ Charitable Trust, is being piloted by six schools from the Aldridge Foundation and the Ormiston Academies Trust. Literacy for Life will be evaluated by the University of Durham and Literacy Leaders will be accredited in partnership with the University of Exeter.

National Literacy Trust Director Jonathan Douglas said: “Too many pupils are being held back by challenges in grasping the vocabulary which is used across the secondary school curriculum.

Our innovative Literacy for Life Programme improves pupils’ understanding and use of academic language across the curriculum while encouraging them to read more for enjoyment. This innovative approach, which is tailored to the needs of each pupil, will motivate and transform the futures of young people whose life chances would otherwise have been limited.”

Schools can register their interest at

Photo (from left to right): Simon Gilbert-Barnham, Headteacher, Ormiston Venture Academy; author Stephen Kelman; Jonathan Douglas, Director, National Literacy Trust; Professor Debra Myhill, Exeter University and Susan Aykin, Strategic Lead, Literacy for Life, National Literacy Trust