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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.

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Boys outperforming girls in maths

Girls in the UK perform worse than boys in maths and are less likely to enjoy the subject, a major international study into education has revealed.

Boys perform better in maths, and slightly better in science, but not as well as girls in reading. Credit: PA Wire

It found that UK boys outperformed girls by 12 points on average in the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests.

The gender gap across OECD countries on average is 11 points, with boys doing better in most countries.

Boys also did better than girls in science with a gender gap of 13 points, larger than the OECD average one one point. But girls performed better in reading, scoring 25 points more on average, significantly less than the OECD's average gender gap of 38 points.

However, Andreas Schleicher, special adviser to the OECD's secretary-general, said the gender gap in the UK is considerably better than many other countries.

"In the UK that gender gap is not actually that pronounced. The UK is doing better than many countries in giving students, boys and girls equal opportunities, on balance."

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