This second and final report from the Standing Literacy Commission - established by the Scottish Government in 2011 to oversee delivery of the SG's Literacy Action Plan (October 2010) - attempts to capture the impact, through the available evidence, of the work undertaken to improve literacy across the different sectors covered by the plan since the Commission's interim report was published in September 2012. The data and evidence presented is both qualitative, including up-to-date evaluative work on programmes and initiatives such as Bookbug and the inter-authority Literacy Hubs; and quantitative, with data from the early years through to adult literacies. For the early years there is data from the 27-30 month child health reviews; from school level the data sets include the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy (SSLN) 2012 survey, the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and National Qualifications (NQs); for adults there is data from the annual Skills Profile survey which is used to measure progress with the Adult Literacies in Scotland (ALIS) 2020 strategy.
Taken together, the available data and evidence point to a generally improving picture for literacy levels in Scotland from early years, through schools and colleges to adult learning. In each of these areas literacy enjoys a higher, and increasing, priority than at one time, which can only be good news for Scotland and its people, society and economy. However, the stand-out issue, where more progress needs to be made, is the gap in attainment between the most and least disadvantaged young people.
The Commission welcomes the central place of literacy in the Scottish Government's renewed focus on raising attainment and tackling educational inequalities. We make a number of recommendations covering all sectors to make further improvements to literacy levels in Scotland and tackle the enduring impact of poverty and disadvantage on people's literacy skills and life chances.