Ten years after the introduction of the Skills for Life Strategy, which aimed to improve the literacy, language and numeracy skills of 2.25 million adults by 2010, the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) – one of the two founding organisations of Learning and Work Institute – launched an independent inquiry into the state of adult literacy in England.
We appointed a group of 12 commissioners, chaired by Lord Boswell of Aynho, to guide the work. We wanted to discover how to respond to the current challenges faced by adults with under-developed literacy skills as well as seek ways of preventing the need for adult literacy initiatives and campaigns in future.
Our focus was on adult provision and not on schools. We conducted a literature review, held expert seminars and focus groups and invited stakeholders to contribute papers, asking key questions about the successes on which to build as well as areas for development. The findings, analysis, conclusions and detailed recommendations were brought together.