Literacy Pirates

a fleet of learning centres in Hackney, Haringey and soon beyond

The Literacy Pirates Vision

Children who have fewer opportunities and are falling behind become fully rounded learners who are able to achieve at school and in the wider world.

Mission Statement

To support children in developing literacy, confidence and perseverance by delivering motivating learning projects in a dynamic environment using the resources in our community.


We believe in the exceptional potential of every child and we exist so that children have the tools to decide their own path. We work for and alongside children in everything we do.

We believe in working with others to enable positive change in individual lives while striving for a fairer society.

We are driven by a sense of possibility.

We apply our hard work, our professionalism and our humanity to each choice we face.

We are ready to listen to others who we can learn from, and to never stop learning.

Our Founding Story

Catriona Maclay was a teacher in north London, and realised that some of her pupils needed more support than she and her colleagues could offer during the school day. Living locally, she knew that Hackney is filled with wonderful people who would be able to help. So in 2010 along with fellow conspirators and supported by local charity Bootstrap Company, she ran a pilot project to see if local children, parents, teachers and volunteers agreed that there was space for some pirate-style learning in Hackney. They did! The Hackney Pirates was born.

We were joined by a top crew of fellow educationalists and shipmates to complete the team, and we have been working since then to grow our impact.

In January 2014 we moved into Dalston, Hackney learning centre, Ship. Then in Jan 2019 we opened our second Ship in Tottenham, Haringey.