Tuesday, 3 December 2013

PISA: England, Wales stand still while others overtake

The performance of Welsh teenagers in mathematics, reading and science after thirteen years of Labour education ministers was the major subject of First Minister's Questions today. Kirsty Williams and Peter Black will have commented elsewhere on the worst attainment scores in the UK, so I will confine myself to another important factor. The snapshot published by PISA (pdf here) shows that the best-performing nation, mainland China, also has the lowest proportion of low-achievers. Again, the UK as a whole is no better than the average for OECD countries. It is important that in a desire to increase the number of high-achievers, as appears to be the aim of English education minister Michael Gove, the people at the bottom of the cornflakes packet, as Boris Johnson put it, are not neglected. Everybody deserves education to make the most of their abilities, and exclusion tends to lead to social disorder.

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