UK lagging behind in education

British schools have failed to improve in recent years and are still lagging behind Asian nations on reading, science and maths, according to a major international study. The UK was 26th out of 65 for maths, 23rd for reading and 21st for science.

UK education performance 'failing to improve'

The UK's performance in maths, reading and science has failed to improve in recent years, leaving UK teens lagging far behind peers in countries such as Sinapore, Korea and Japan, a major international study has found.

The UK's position in the OECD study remains largely unchanged from. Credit: Reuters

Despite the UK spending more than average on education, there has been "no change" in the country's abilities in the three basic subjects, according to the latest results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study 2012.

The UK placed 26th place for maths, 23rd for reading and 21st for science out of the total 65 countries that took part in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) study last year.

How the international school tables work

International school tables are expected to suggest that UK students have fallen behind pupils in Asian countries in reading, science and maths.

This is how the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's tables work:

  • The rankings are based on tests completed by around 500,000 pupils worldwide in 65 different countries.
  • Some 12,638 students took the two-hour tests in 477 secondary schools across the UK, according to The Sunday Times (£).
  • The study focuses on three key areas; reading, science and maths.
  • In 2009, the last time this test was carried out, the UK finished 25th for reading, 16th in science and 28th in maths.

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UK students expected to lag behind in school tables

A major international report is expected to show that UK students are lagging far behind their peers in Asian countries in reading, science and maths.

The report focuses on reading, science and maths. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Global school league tables assessing countries performances in the three areas will be published this morning by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

School systems in South Korea, Japan and Singapore did well in a similar study three years ago, while the UK was an average performer.

Around half a million pupils around the world took the tests, including students from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

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