Our schools outreach work in East Devon

The Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival is a charity and the core of our aims is to promote an enjoyment of reading because literacy is the bedrock of every child’s education. Good literacy and a love of books impacts on well-being and life outcomes too.

Recent research undertaken by the National Literacy Trust concludes some interesting and disturbing statistics:

  •  Low levels of literacy undermine the UK’s economic competitiveness, costing the taxpayer £2.5 billion every year. A third of businesses are not satisfied with young people’s literacy skills when they enter the workforce and a similar number have organised remedial training for young recruits to improve their basic skills, including literacy and communication.
  • Children who enjoy reading are three times more likely to have good mental wellbeing than children who don’t enjoy it.
  • 1 in 15 children and young people aged 8 to 18 do not have a book of their own at home.
  • At school, reading, writing, speaking and listening are vital for success. If you find these things hard, then you struggle to learn. It affects your confidence and self-esteem.

To help address this, we take authors into schools across East Devon throughout the year to inspire young people across all Key Stages.

In 2023, we have taken acclaimed authors Martin Brown, Emma Carroll, David Baddiel, Tatton Spiller and Manjeet Mann into the following schools:

  • Mill Water Special Education School
  • The Deaf Academy Exmouth
  • Exmouth Community College
  • Sidmouth College
  • Colyton Grammar
  • St Peter’s School Exeter
  • West Exe School

We have reached over 1300 young people across Key Stages 1-4 with creative writing workshops and book talks, inspiring and engaging them in reading with all the educational and life benefits that brings.

We have responded to requests to feature authors of diverse ethnic backgrounds (also programming the award-winning Black author Patrice Lawrence in Autumn 2022) – in response to reports of racial discrimination amongst some students.

We have also donated books to school libraries so that every child has access to a book by an author they have met.

Feedback from schools is 100% positive:

Lyndsay Kennett
St Peter’s High School Exeter
“Thank you so much for today’s visit. I have had so much amazing feedback from staff and students about how brilliant the session was so we are all very grateful.”

Charlotte Bean
Colyton Grammar School
“Thank you very much for organising the visit. It was a fantastic opportunity for the students and lots of them have said how much they enjoyed it.”

Lesley Salter
West Exe School, Exeter.
“We were so inspired by Manjeet’s work and personal story yesterday. I have had students visiting the library today keen to read Run Rebel and The Crossing and saying how much they enjoyed her visit. Thanks once again for this enriching experience for our students.”

Our aims for 2024 include:

  • Taking 5 authors into schools, with between 10 and 20 events across the year
  • Reaching over 2000 young people through workshops and book talks
  • Responding to feedback from school literacy leads concerning the key stages that most need support
  • Responding once again to feedback from schools concerning the need to show ethnic diversity
  • Donating books to libraries to enable young people to access the work of a variety of authors

You can help us by becoming a Festival Friend or Benefactor or simply donating to the Festival.

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