A teacher explaining something to an adult student

Adult literacy and numeracy crucial to levelling up

New analysis has shown that the variation in levels of adult literacy and numeracy across England is high, and tackling this issue is key to the government successfully completing their levelling up plans.

Thanks to a study from Learning and Work Institute, the results of which were published today, it is clear that not only does the proportion of adults with low skills in literacy and numeracy vary drastically across the country, but it is also highly linked to depravation.

This is a key area for the government to focus on as part of its levelling up agenda. With the tackling of depravation already an important aspect of the plan, another focus is that of increasing opportunities for citizens and improving education. Should the government succeed with providing opportunities, these levels of poor literacy and numeracy must be tackled. It is also important that the standard of education improves, as the government plans aims to do, so that future generations do not slip through the net.

The data from the study shows that there are high inequalities in many areas of the country. In the West Midlands Combined Authority the proportion of adults that are lacking in essential skills ranges from 17% in Blyth, to 27% in Aston.

In the Levelling Up the United Kingdom White Paper, it says:

“While talent is spread equally across our country, opportunity is not. Levelling Up is a mission to challenge, and change, that unfairness. Levelling Up means giving everyone the opportunity to flourish. It means people everywhere living longer and more fulfilling lives and benefitting from sustained rises in living standards and well-being.

This requires us to end the geographical inequality which is such a striking feature of the UK… It is vital that we preserve and enhance the economic, academic, and cultural success stories of the UK’s most productive counties, towns, and cities.”

Whilst all levels of government, from central government in London to local authorities, are using the Levelling Up Fund to help reduce the levels of depravity, it is key that these levels of low adult literacy and numeracy are tackled to make the levelling up strategy truly successful.


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