National Literacy Day 2021

8th September, 2021

Today (Wednesday 8th September) is National Literacy Day.

16.4% of adults in England, or 7.1 million people, can be described as having 'very poor literacy skills.' They can understand short straightforward texts on familiar topics accurately and independently, and obtain information from everyday sources, but reading information from unfamiliar sources, or on unfamiliar topics, could cause problems. This is also known as being functionally illiterate.  (


For some people, school was a difficult time in their life. If we did not leave school with good grades, we might find that we are being held back in our career. Functional Skills is a great alternative to GCSEs where the learning is based on real life situations. Functional Skills are recognised GCSE alternative qualifications, with a Level 2 being equivalent to a GCSE grade 4-9 (C-A*). ... As a GCSE equivalent qualification, Functional Skills can benefit you professionally as well as personally. They are respected by employers and can help boost your employability, and, they are often free.

So, whether you are a native speaker, or someone for whom English is a second language, where can you get help?

The government website gives signposting and advice, you can even ask an adviser to call you back to discuss your next steps.

The BBC has a great online site, Bitesize, which has many free functional skills courses. A great blend of exercises and short videos that will help you to develop your skills.

Residents of Herefordshire and Shropshire can also turn to their County Councils for free support: