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Literacy for life : evaluating the National Literacy Trust’s bespoke programme for schools.

Morris, R. and See, B. and Gorard, S. and Siddiqui, N. 'Literacy for life : evaluating the National Literacy Trust’s bespoke programme for schools.', Educational studies. .


This paper presents an evaluation of ‘Literacy for Life’ (LfL) – a whole-school literacy programme, implemented in five secondary schools in England. The aims of LfL were to improve literacy attainment and to promote positive attitudes to reading and writing. However, when compared to other schools, there is little or no evidence that being in a LfL school, had any differential benefit for pupils’ attainment. In LfL schools, the gap for disadvantaged pupils and those with SEN grew in the early years of the intervention. There is also no evidence from repeated surveys that pupils’ attitudes to and enjoyment of reading showed any improvement. As such, LfL did not achieve its intended objectives. This matters because, despite limited evidence in its favour, schools continue to use it and programmes similar to it. We argue that programmes such as LfL, which are implemented on a whole-school level, need to be based upon evidence-informed approaches.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Educational Studies on 11th January 2021, available online:
Date accepted:17 December 2020
Date deposited:18 December 2020
Date of first online publication:11 January 2021
Date first made open access:11 July 2022

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