Billions Spent on Education, but Schools Slump in the World League

Daily Mail (London), December 5, 2007 | Go to article overview

Billions Spent on Education, but Schools Slump in the World League


Byline: Laura Clark

BRITAIN has nosedived down the world education league despite billionsof pounds of extra spending on schools, an international study revealedyesterday.

The findings are the third in a week to highlight falling education standardsin a country with a schools budget that has risen to more than [pounds sterling]50billion ayear.

Our schools now stand at 24th in a table of teenagers' achievement in maths,level with Poland and down from eighth in six years.

Rankings in literacy have fallen from seventh to 17th as schools fail to keeppace with places such as Estonia, Liechtenstein and Hong Kong.

In addition, one in five 15-year-olds the world in the UK tested in maths andliteracy by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development failedto reach basic standards. In the best-performing nations, the figure was one in20.

Standards among the brightest pupils have also slumped, amid evidence thatschools are hampered by shortages of qualified teachers. It means the UK hasslipped out of the top ten in maths, reading and science and is the onlyhigh-achieving nation from 2000 to be ranked among average performers in thefollow-up 2006 table.

Results in the report for 15-yearolds in science - leaked last week - sawBritain slide from fourth to 14th place. And in a separate study often-year-olds' reading skills, England fell from third place in 2001 to 19th.

A report on the latest rankings said the UK should have done better in relationto other English-speaking countries with similar education systems.

Experts said the OECD study - covering 57 nations compared to 27 in 2000 -provided independent evidence of falling standards, exposing as a 'charade'Government claims of continually-rising performance.

Ministers have hailed 'best ever' results in GCSEs and A-levels as proof thatflagship education initiatives are effective and that big increases in theschools budget are justified.

But our slide down the international rankings prompted warnings that too muchextra funding has been swallowed up in red tape. …

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