Our key achievements at a glance

We have influenced Government policy and increased funding

  • We have put adult literacy on the political agenda – it is the top priority in adult education policy in Ireland.
  • We have secured increased funding for ETB Adult Literacy Service from €1 million in 1997 to €30 million in 2010.
  • We have achieved the first dedicated workplace basic education fund to support adults who want to improve their basic skills at work.
  • We secured the first national fund for family literacy under the Department of Education and Science.
  • Through our lobbying we secured the first national intensive basic education programme (ITABE).
  • We successfully lobbied for Ireland’s participation in the OECD international adult literacy survey of 2014.

We have increased participation in adult literacy services

  • Drawing on our research and working in partnership with the VEC, there are now almost 57,000 people attending adult literacy services nationwide (there were 5,000 in 1997).
  • We have produced thirteen highly acclaimed TV series about adult literacy. That represents over a decade of presence on RTÉ. Our series have helped to reduce the stigma of having a literacy difficulty and encouraged people to return to learning.
  • We have disseminated over 100,000 adult literacy workbooks to people who want to improve their literacy skills and learn at home.
  • We have increased access to tuition through distance education options such as learning over the phone with a tutor and new online services. To date, over 31,000 learning accounts have been set up on www.writeon.ie.
  • We have provided 12,045 Level 2 minor awards and 2,434 Level 3 minor awards to 2,753 learners across Ireland.
  • We have provided information and advice on adult literacy services to 120,000 people who have called the NALA freephone support line since 2000.


We have made approaches to teaching more effective

  • We have developed over 25 high quality teaching and learning workbooks that are specifically tailored to adult literacy students.
  • We designed the first intensive literacy programmes for the unemployed participants on Community Employment.
  • We have pioneered an integrated approach to developing literacy and numeracy and developed guidelines for good adult literacy work for tutors.
  • We have produced the first quality framework for adult literacy services to help promote a more formal approach to quality, building on our Guidelines for Good Adult Literacy practice.
  • We have made sure tutors can receive qualifications for their training and experience through our partnership with Waterford Institute of Technology.
  • We have adapted effectively to a changing environment by developing English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) training and support materials for tutors.
  • We host meetings of students, Adult Literacy Organisers and tutors so as to facilitate discussion on research and development.


We have worked with organisations to make them fully accessible to people with literacy difficulties

  • We have provided plain English editing and literacy awareness training to state agencies and organisations dealing with the public.
  • We have produced plain English guides to citizenship terms, financial terms, legal terms, political terms and environmental terms.
  • We have developed specific programmes for the health sector and financial sector to make them more accessible to the general public.
  • We have worked in partnership with a number of companies and agencies to develop workplace basic education programmes to support staff who want to improve their literacy at work.