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Read On Nottingham!

Read On
Mon 23 Apr, 2018

An innovative drive to boost literacy levels has launched in Nottingham, thanks to a partnership between the National Literacy Trust, Nottingham City Council and Small Steps Big Changes.

The National Literacy Trust Hub has been established in the city, which will be known locally as Read On Nottingham.

 National Literacy Trust Hubs work at a community level to tackle low literacy levels that are seriously impacting on people's lives, by working with local partners to create long lasting change. Nottingham will join a list of existing Hubs set up by the charity around the country, including Bradford, Middlesbrough, Peterborough, Stoke-on-Trent and Swindon.

 With funding from Small Steps Big Changes, Nottingham’s Big Lottery funded programme to improve the outcomes of 0-3 year olds, and the support of other education and literature-focused initiatives in the city such as local library services, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and the UNESCO City of Literature, Read On Nottingham will encourage the whole city to make reading, writing and talking a priority. The Hub will encompass a range of projects and initiatives to give young people the literacy skills they need to succeed in life.

 Research shows that literacy issues are prevalent across Nottingham and are more pronounced in certain areas of the city. National Literacy Trust and Experian analysis of every parliamentary constituency in England found of the 20 wards in Nottingham, 17 are among the most in need of literacy support nationally.[1]

 In 2017 more than a third (34%) of children in the city did not achieve a good level of development at age five[2] increasing to 42% of disadvantaged children. Hub activity will therefore focus on ensuring the city’s youngest residents have the communication skills they need to start school.

 There will also be a drive to equip young people in Nottingham with the literacy skills they need to access the world of work. Over two thirds (68%) of disadvantaged young people in Nottingham did not achieve good grades[3] in GCSE English and maths in 2017, compared to half of all pupils (49%).

Read On Nottingham officially launched on Friday 20 April with a literacy-themed bus tour of local primary schools and early years settings, kindly supported by Nottingham City Transport.

The bus stopped at five locations where pupils aged between one and five climbed on board to enjoy a performance by local interactive music workshop providers Rainbow Stripes, who inspired the children to enjoy books and share stories with their families. Pupils were also  gifted a brand new book and a Read On Nottingham bookmark to take home.

The bus  then made its way to the Angear Visitor Centre at Nottingham Lakeside Arts, where key partners and city wide stakeholders from businesses, academics, public sector and voluntary organisations met to celebrate the launch. Attendees heard from the Young Poet Laureate for Nottingham, Georgina Wilding, who highlighted the importance of literacy skills, share her experience of growing up in Nottingham and performed one of the her poems.

National Literacy Trust Director, Jonathan Douglas said:

“We are delighted to be working in Nottingham, a city which has already put literacy at the forefront of its mindset as a UNESCO City of Literature. We are looking forward to building innovative partnerships with local businesses, libraries, schools and other organisations, and taking our evidence-based programmes into local schools. Together we can ensure that every young person in Nottingham has the literacy skills they need to succeed in life.”

Nottingham Hub Manager, Emily Landsborough said:

“This is an exciting time for Nottingham and a chance to build on the fantastic literacy and education initiatives already being delivered in the city.  We know that reading for just 10 minutes a day will make a real difference to a child’s future. Read On Nottingham will encourage the whole city to champion the benefits of books and reading, inspiring the next generation to become lifelong readers. If you can read you can succeed!”

 Phyllis Brackenbury, Programme. Director for Small Steps, Big Changes said:

“We are really excited to support the development of the National Literacy Trust Hub in Nottingham. One of the aims of Small Steps Big Changes is to ensure our children are ready to learn at two, ready for school at five and ready for life at 16, which fits closely with the aims of the Hub.

 We all want the best start in life for our children and believe in the importance of championing literacy in Nottingham.”

David Mellen, Dales Ward Councillor and Portfolio Holder for Early Intervention and Early Years said:

“There is a lot of very successful, joined-up work happening in our city to ensure children have the right access to books to bring about a love of reading as early as possible. Being able to read and communicate well are essential ingredients to children doing well in school and preparing for the world of work.

 “Having the right partners working with us is also key. We need a collective response – the council, schools, parents, libraries, the NHS, the voluntary and private sector, and now the National Literacy Trust – to ensure we are doing everything we can to give children not just the ability to read, but a love of reading that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

 “This is highlighted in Nottingham by our partnership work to promote the Dolly Parton Imagination Library – a fantastic charity which provides books to under-fives. I’m very proud that we recently extended this scheme into two more city wards, and we now have more than 4,000 local children registered with more than 100,000 books delivered since 2012.

 “We have a proud heritage of literacy in our city, highlighted by the awarding of the UNESCO City of Literature status for the sheer quality and quantity of literary excellence. It’s important that we build on this for future generations.”

 Sam Webster, Wollaton East and Lenton Abbey Ward and Portfolio Holder for Business, Education and Skills said:

“I welcome the launch of the new National Literacy Trust Hub in Nottingham and look forward to seeing it grow and develop over the coming months. The work of the Hub will make a difference to lots of children in Nottingham.

 “We know that our primary schools in Nottingham do fantastic work and children make good progress, but additional and early intervention can improve this further.

 “Reading is so important to children and is the gateway to many other strands of learning. Anything that we can do collectively to inspire a love of books from an early age is worthwhile.”

 Anthony Carver-Smith, NCT Marketing Manager said:

“Nottingham City Transport is delighted to support this fantastic initiative to encourage reading within the city, which is a perfect activity for people of all ages to do whilst travelling around Nottingham on one of our buses”.

To find out more about the Read On Nottingham campaign, please visit www.readonnottingham.org.uk.


[1] National Literacy Trust and Experian analysis (2017) based on the social factors most closely associated with low literacy, including income, education and unemployment. 17 wards across Nottingham East, Nottingham North and Nottingham South are in the top three deciles of literacy need.  [2] Department for Education, Early years foundation stage profile results: 2016 to 2017 [3] Department for Education, Revised GCSE and equivalent results in England: 2016 to 2017. Good grades are considered as Levels 9-4.

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