Left to right: Sue Porto, Chief Executive of Beanstalk; Susan Belgrave, Founder of Beanstalk; Jeffrey Barratt, Partner at Norton Rose LLP and Beanstalk Development Board member.
National charity Beanstalk celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. To mark this milestone anniversary, we worked with the Beanstalk team to create, design and publish a Charter for Children’s Literacy, calling for a raft of interventions to improve reading standards amongst young people. Currently, one in eight children in the UK leaves primary school unable to read to the required standards.The Charter, sponsored by HarperCollins, consists of an introduction on children’s literacy over the past 40 years; a survey of Beanstalk’s reading helpers about the children they support; a range of viewpoints from experts across the literacy sphere; and a series of recommendations – from the reform of the primary curriculum to foster creativity by reducing testing, to government funding to provide a trained reading helper in every primary school in the country.High profile support for the Charter has come from the CBI, former Ofsted Director Sir Jim Rose, and HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Chair of the EU High Level Group on Literacy, as well as authors Charlie Higson and Julia Donaldson.Sue Porto, Chief Executive of Beanstalk, said: “The impact on people and society of poor levels of literacy in children is enormous, with repercussions throughout adulthood in terms of long term poverty, unemployment, ill health and offending behaviour. Early intervention to reduce illiteracy is an effective and efficient way to bring about positive change.”The Charter was brought to life through a terrific cross-company collaboration, with the Four Studio team providing the design and artwork, as well as photography for the launch event – an uplifting drinks reception at Norton Rose.Beanstalk has issued the Charter to a range of key stakeholders and funders, while the FCG campaigning team aim to generate national and trade media coverage of the publication and its calls to action. The Evening Standard, which is a long-standing supporter of the charity, led the coverage of the Charter’s publication.Sue Porto continued: “As we mark our 40th anniversary and look forward to the next 40 years, we are calling for the support of a wide variety of stakeholders in effecting change and inspiring the next generation’s love of reading.”