Wales' PISA rankings worst in UK

The latest Programme for International Student Assessment Tests (PISA) tests reveal Wales has fallen behind the rest of the UK significantly in reading, maths and science for the third time.

Live updates

PISA in Wales: Social background 'not such an issue'

Michael Davidson from the OECD - the organisation behind the PISA survey - says pupils' social background is not a leading factor in educational performance in Wales.

Mr Davidson said: "Unlike in some countries where your social background really makes a difference to your success in education, that's not such an issue in Wales. It's more of a challenge to address the under-performing students."

'Honest' response to 'disappointing' PISA results praised

Shadow Welsh Secretary, Owen Smith, has described the PISA results for Wales as 'disappointing' but says that 'the Welsh Labour Government has already recognised the scale of the challenge we face and has put in place the measures required to turn things around.'

He added that

The response of the Welsh Government to today’s results has been honest, serious and long-sighted, in contrast to the short term, party-political points which Conservative UK Cabinet Ministers have sought to make today. Using the education of Welsh pupils, striving for attainment in some of the most challenged and deprived communities of Britain, as a means to score points off the Labour Party, is a cheap trick which will be seen for what it is by the Welsh people.

– Owen Smith MP, Shadow Welsh Secretary


  1. Adrian Masters

PISA poses tricky test for Labour in Wales

There are two problems for the Labour politicians running the Welsh Government. Firstly it is they who made PISA results such an important measure of progress in education and it's they who have been in charge of education here since the Assembly began, even when it was run by coalition governments.

The first is why the First Minister and Education Minister made no attempt to portray the figures as anything other than a disappointment. The second explains why opposition parties joined forces in the Senedd in a rare concerted attack on the First Minister. But watch Westminster closely too.

You'd expect Tory MPs to pin the blame on Labour. But it was Labour's Shadow Education Secretary who said that 'Wales has some difficult questions to answer' and some Welsh Labour MPs are also privately worried. You can be certain that they'll let their Cardiff colleagues know their concerns.

First Minister says PISA results are 'not good enough'

First Minister Carwyn Jones has acknowledged that the PISA results for Wales are 'not good enough.' Responding to criticism from opponents during First Minister's Questions, he listed reforms that the Welsh Government had introduced since the last set of PISA figures.

But he agreed the figures were 'disappointing' and accepted the need to improve but said it will 'take some time for these measures to bear fruit.'


Wales education figures 'a scandal' says Tory MP

Welsh Conservative MP Alun Cairns described Wales' PISA results as 'nothing short of a scandal' and said that 'parents across Wales are genuinely worried about their children's education.'

Education Secretary Michael Gove said that Wales was like a 'control sample' in an experiment, saying that Wales is

almost an object lesson in what happens when you abandon reform and succumb to the NUT orthodoxy which has suffocated education in the Principality.

– Michael Gove MP, UK Education Secretary
  1. National

Scotland ahead of the rest of UK in maths and reading

Schools in Scotland came out top in maths and reading in the UK, whilst schools in England led the way in science.


  • Scotland scored 498 points
  • England scored 495 points
  • Northern Ireland scored 498 points
  • Wales scored 480 points


  • Scotland scored 506 points
  • England scored 500 points
  • Northern Ireland scored 498 points
  • Wales scored 480 points


  • England scored 516 points
  • Scotland scored 513 points
  • Northern Ireland scored 507 points
  • Wales scored 491points

NAHT Cymru: PISA 'Not a time for party point-scoring'

The Acting Director of the National Association of Head Teachers says Wales must pull together in the wake of its poor PISA results.

As expected, Wales has fallen further in the PISA rankings. This is no time for finger-waving or point-scoring between the parties. What is most noticeable about the education system in Wales has been the remarkable degree of political consensus across the parties since devolution. We are all in this together and it’s about time we started working together to put it right.

– Dr Chris Howard, Acting Director, NAHT Cymru

Education Secretary blames Labour for Wales' schools international failings

UK Education Secretary Michael Gove has pinned the blame for Wales' poor performance in the PISA results on Labour Welsh Governments. He told MPs that 'if you want to know what our education system would look like [under Labour] you only need to look over the Severn Bridge.'

But Labour MP Huw Irranca-Davies criticised the Education Secretary for that response. The Ogmore MP said there are failings in all parts of the UK and to 'make political capital... is the wrong approach.'

Welsh Conservative MP Guto Bebb asked Michael Gove if he blamed 'a £600 per head funding gap or a Labour [Welsh] government which has accepted teaching unions' dogma.' The Education Secretary said simply, 'both.'

Load more updates Back to top

Latest ITV News reports