Thousands of Greater Manchester adults 'cannot read or write'

Thousands of adults in Greater Manchester lack basic reading and writing skills, according to a report.

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) found that 420,000 people came forward for adult literacy classes.

Dan Shercliffe, from Trafford Community College, said many people were vulnerable adults who had negative experiences of education previously.

All 10 councils in the area said they were working to improve the problem.

Mr Shercliffe, who specialises in adult learning, said more needed to be done to make adult learners feel comfortable asking for help.

'Incapable of learning'

"The last time they sat in front of a teacher they may have been told they were a failure," he said.

"You are still dealing with a negative stigma about the classroom environment.

"So we're really trying to break down those barriers and make sure people feel safe."

He said many of these people saw themselves as incapable of learning, so when they did learn it was "empowering".

An investigation into the region's literacy is being headed by the leader of Bolton Council, Cliff Morris.

He said other factors were also to blame, including diet and lifestyle.

"Teachers tell us that once pupils have accessed a hot nutritious meal then they settle down for their learning and this helps them in later life," he said.

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