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Literacy development – Local Partnerships

This workshop analyses the partnerships set up within the Scottish literacy model and compares them with experiences in other European countries.

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The Scottish system encourages the participation of a wide range of partners in a rather flexible statutory framework. As a rule, in order to receive funding, each partnership drafts an action plan based on a series of specific objectives. Nevertheless, local authorities – who are the sole masters of their policy – may accept to depart from this principle and welcome other groups. Some partners have also developed a sort of subsidy exchange market upon which other agencies may call.

Within such a partnership, stakeholder motivations and involvement may vary. Historical reasons (related to the region’s social, demographic and economic environment), but also the quality of the coordinator’s work and his/her personality may have important influences on such a structure’s operation.

Except for a family literacy programme (to help parents assist their children with their homework), Learning Connections has very few contacts with primary schools. One of the objectives is to reinforce such collaboration in the future.

The Belgian representatives present confirm the difficulty of establishing partnerships with schools, mentioning several practical experiences carried out by the association Lire et Écrire Communauté française (Belgium).

Equally, Learning Connections and Lire et Écrire Communauté française highlight similar points of view on the difficulty to make contacts within enterprises. However, recently Learning Connections has at its disposal a national coordinator who develops literacy training schemes within enterprises and a specific awareness raising campaign called The Big Plus for Business.