Labour to take flak as OECD survey poised to reveal pupils’ failings

UK pupils slipping behind foreign peers as Michael Gove looks to follow Finland and South Korea By Jeevan Vasagar

” The education secretary, Michael Gove, who is thought to have seen the OECD results, told the Commons recently that England was “failing to keep pace” with competitors. He said: “In the last three years of the last government reform went into reverse – schools lost freedoms, the curriculum lost rigour, Labour lost its way. Now, under this coalition government, we are once more travelling in the same direction as the most ambitious and most progressive nations.“Gove has made plain his ambition for schools in England to be more like Finland’s; name-checking the country nine times in his recent education white paper. By contrast, Sweden – which helped inspire the Tories’ free schools policy – is only mentioned once.

The survey, which included 65 countries, revealed that Britain had dropped from seventh to 17th place in reading and eighth to 24th in maths. Britain also slipped to 14th place in science, down from 4th when the last comparable UK results were published, in 2001. Pupils in New Zealand, Ireland, Australia and Estonia were among those who did better than British children at reading.”

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