We improve reading and writing skills

Over the past five years we have tracked and evaluated the impact of our programme.

Our programme creates improvements

We have a robust theory of change in place. Our aim is to help children reach their potential and lead fulfilling lives.

We specifically work with children whose literacy skills are behind national averages and need to be boosted so they can access the curriculum at secondary school. We work with children in school years 5 to 8, during the critical transition years.

Children who attend are programme are on average 14 months behind their peers at age 9. They are 28 months behind their peers at age 11.

We help them make 16 months progress in their reading age, when without us they are making just 4 months progress.

You can read more about the impact we have made in 2019-20 below.


Our programme improves children’s writing skills too. They create a piece of writing across each half-term. Over the six-week period they embark on a cycle of imagining, drafting and redrafting their written work. We publish the children’s work in tangible projects in order to provide motivation and a sense of achievement.

  • 87% of teachers saw an improvement overall
  • 75% of teachers saw their pupils’ literacy skills


Mariam was shy and afraid to speak up in class. Not anymore. Mariam told us,
“The Pirates has really helped me boost my confidence in speaking aloud, helping me improve my writing by making
it to a high standard and making me feel like I am welcomed. Sometimes I felt tired but my crewmates [adult support volunteer] persuaded me to keep going and don’t stop. I like that because
it helps me to keep going.”


Jason joined the Haringey Pirates for after-school sessions on Fridays. He put his all into the first writing project in term one and did not miss a single week. At home time one day, Jason’s mum told us,
‘He absolutely loves it, it is his favourite. He looks forward to coming each week.’

We asked Jason to write the foreword for the Haringey Pirates’ book, The Legends You’ve Never Heard Of, a compilation of true and fantastical stories of how each of the Young Pirates got their names. He not only wrote the foreword but also read it out to a room full of guests at the Book Launch.

Jason’s reading tests showed his reading age advanced by 12 months in less than 6 months with us, meaning he had caught up and was now working to age-related expectations. Jason’s Year 6 teacher told us that after his time at the Ship, he was getting some of the highest grades in his class for English, something that really boosted his confidence.

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