04 December 2007

Time To Emigrate?

Last week we learnt the extent to which this Government has failed our primary school pupils, the reading performance of our ten-year-olds having fallen from third to fifteenth place in the world in just five years. Today we are further informed that an equally disasterous slump in performance is evident in our secondary schools, with the UK dropping out of the top-performing group of countries for reading and maths standards. Seven years ago, the UK ranked eighth in maths and seventh in reading in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) league tables; today, we sit at an appallingly average 24th place for maths and 17th for literacy. For school science, using a system which places countries within a range of rankings, we have slipped from fourth place to between 12th and 18th place.

Launching the report, the OECD Secretary-General Angel GurrĂ­a stressed the importance of education for the development of people and society: "Effective and innovative education policies open enormous opportunities for individuals. They also underpin healthy and vibrant economies." Quite. Conversely, chanting the mantra "Education, education, education," will no more equip the next generation than invoking the incantation "Abracadabra."


Freelander said...

A few years ago my friend's husband was 'posted' overseas by his Company. Their two girls attended the English speaking school while there.

On return to UK 12 months later they hoped that the eldest would return to the local Comprehensive School, but found her educational (and social) achievement was above that of her peers and she would, in fact, be 'held back'. She was also far more polite than the children at the local school. This resulted in frustration on her part leading to previously unheard-of poor behaviour in classes.

They had no choice but to remove her from the Comprehensive and pay for her to attend a private school in a nearby town.

Both girls made their way successfully to University and good careers.

The Stonemason said...

My daughter's school doesn't teach Maths, Physics and Chemistry to other then the top set of Maths students; all the rest get a hybrid 'Science' GCSE course. It seems that the battle to teach science is lost before it is joined and that the goverment believes that individual science is too hard for the general run of children to learn. Alternatively it could be a way to clear space in the timetable for indoctrination classes (otherwise known as PSHE or Citizenship).