New era for Scottish literacy

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POLITICS…
Breaking the long standing link between poverty and poor literacy will be the focus of action to improve literacy in Scotland.

Published today, the Literacy Action Plan – the first of its kind since devolution – includes a range of actions from early years through to employment, aimed at eradicating poor literacy across the country.

Key actions include:

* Vulnerable families to be targeted as part of the Play Talk Read campaign
* Curriculum for Excellence supporting literacy from a child’s early years
* New National Qualifications to support the development of literacy skills
* More support for workplace learning

Cabinet Secretary for Education Michael Russell said:

“Scotland’s literacy rate is on a par with many of the world’s leading economies but we know that more can be done. Poor literacy levels, even among a minority, are unacceptable and this plan is designed to improve the literacy of all who need support.

“This is the first time since devolution that a Scottish administration has laid out a concerted plan of action aimed at improving literacy levels across the board from early years through to adulthood. It sets out our vision for improving the literacy skills of all, and I am confident it will raise standards through a range of policies and services.”

“We will ensure literacy development is a key priority for our youngest children as they take their first steps into learning, helping to tackle the problem of poor literacy early on. At the other end of the scale, we will also make it easier for adults to access opportunities to enhance their skills.

“Research over many years has shown that poverty and poor literacy skills are inextricably linked and have been for generations. I want to sever that link and I am confident that this Action Plan will go a long way towards doing so.

“We have worked closely with many partners including the Literacy Commission to develop this plan, and will continue to do so as delivery of the plan progresses.

Iain McMillan, Director of CBI Scotland, said:

“Poor basic skills damage people’s lives and their employment prospects. Weak literacy skills are associated with unemployment, lower earnings, poorer chances of career progression and social exclusion. They also hold back the ability of employees to contribute to business performance.

“It is essential that all individuals enter the workplace with the literacy skills that they need for work. Employers can then build on these skills to develop vocational skills that will improve their employees’ life chances and better business performance.

“I am very pleased that the Scottish Government is taking forward the work of the Literacy Commission, which CBI Scotland has also championed, and we look forward to working with Ministers to make their literacy action plan a success.”