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The Literacy Pirates makes a transformative impact on the literacy, confidence & perseverance of young people so they can achieve at school

The Literacy Pirates

London, United Kingdom
The Literacy Pirates is an after-school, year-long learning programme devised and led by teachers. During the weekly session children aged 9 to 12 years old work to improve their reading and writing skills, as well as increase their confidence as learners and ability to persevere and keep on going when things get tough in the classroom.

Why we do what we do

“100% of children who don't enjoy reading at the start of the programme, enjoy reading by the end.”

Jude Williams, Captain/ Chief Executive

We work exclusively with children referred by their school, who identify children who are both falling behind in their educational attainment and they know have fewer opportunities outside of school. By working with teachers, we access children we could not otherwise reach and we are assured they are the right ones who really need our help.

In the UK your socio-economic background is still the greatest determinant of your educational success. We are not yet a meritocracy. In fact, two in three children living in low-income households in the UK fall below the expected levels in reading and writing by the age of 11. This attainment gap widens further as children transition from primary to secondary school. This results in low self-confidence, even slower progress, and a bleak long-term outlook.

We have embraced being a venue based, out of school and intense programme by setting the learning programme in a fantastical environment with murals, decking, a Pirate’s cat and secret passageways. The children are given adult volunteer support while a qualified and experience teacher leads the session. And importantly, we know children learn best when working towards tangible, published projects, so each term the young people create high quality published books, films and apps.

We were founded by Catriona Maclay, a former teacher and exceptional social entrepreneur. She moved on in 2017.

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Innovation Overview
9 - 12
Age Group
Tips for implementation
We are always looking for adult volunteers aged 16 plus. We will train you and support you to give 121 reading and writing support during our learning programme. Sign up through the website. Corporate partnerships give your company the chance to support with your employees time and a financial contribution. Be in touch for more details and tour of the Ship.
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