ARALE: The Big +

Education Scotland

The Big Plus is Scotland’s national adult literacy and numeracy campaign. It was introduced in January 2004.

It´s run by Skills Development Scotland with advice on adult literacy and numeracy provided by Education Scotland. It supports Scottish Government policy on adult literacy and numeracy.

A free phone help line, 0800 917 8000, offers advice and puts people in touch with tutors. The free help to improve literacy and numeracy skills is mainly provided by local authorities. Tutors can access a wide range of online literacy and numeracy resources at The campaign was supported by advertising on radio and television, as well as adverts in the press and on taxis/buses across Scotland.

Links were also made with football clubs in Scotland through the SPL Reading Stars initiative. It was aimed at the general public and in particular the target group of adults, who require support in literacy and numeracy.

The objective was to highlight the literacy help available in Scotland and to break down barriers and stigma attached to adult literacy issues. We also worked with learners´ stories, as it´s easier to listen to other people talking about their experience rather than to talk about literacy in a general way.

Developing The Big Plus as a recognisable brand and logo was an important part of the process. Through this campaign, people in Scotland were made more aware of adult literacy issues and of the help available to them. The national helpline, as well as the fact that we linked enquiries through to local literacy support providers, was also a key success factor. We worked with local radio stations and television. Nowadays, we have fewer funds than in the past; our last TV or radio campaign was 3-4 years ago. Nevertheless, Big + has become a recognizable logo in the country – a strong brand in its own right.