UK schools fall in global ranking
- Dec. 9, 2010
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Secondary school pupils in the UK have slipped down a global league table in reading, maths and science, according to a major survey from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).
The survey was designed to compare standards between different education systems around the world, and is based on two-hour tests on reading, maths and science, taken in 65 school systems globally.
Finland and South Korea were found to have achieved the best results, with England having fallen to 25th place and Wales found to be performing less well than England, Scotland and Northern Ireland in all three subjects.
The study included regions within countries – and the Chinese school systems in Shanghai and Hong Kong are the most successful.
A quarter of pupils in Shanghai were able to tackle complex maths problems, compared with an average of 3 per cent across the OECD survey.
The OECD’s Michael Davidson claims: “The UK’s performance is about average. The question is whether the UK thinks that ‘average’ is good enough?”
Shadow Education Secretary Andy Burnham argues: “schools improved under labour, and more students now leave with good results. People forget how bad things were: in 1997, half of all schools failed to reach the basic benchmark of 30 per cent of students getting 5 GCSE’s graded A*-C, including English and Maths – that number is now fewer than one in 12.”
Michael Gove, however, claimed that the survey showed the urgent need to reform our school system and demonstrated that the previous government had not achieved value for money from its investment in education.
“I’m daunted by the scale of the challenge, because other countries have been improving rapidly and despite massive investment over the last 13 years we haven’t been improving at the rate we should have been,” said Mr Gove.
Michael Gove has said that his forthcoming school reforms for England were being influenced by the lessons of successful school systems in other countries.