Britain falls in international education league tables

September 19, 2007 12:43 PM

The Times reports another international comparison that shows failure in British education.  It uses exam results which there is good reason to think significantly overestimate standards in British schools due to pupils being taught to the test.  The real picture could be much worse:

The Times reports another international comparison that shows failure in British education.  It uses exam results which there is good reason to think significantly overestimate standards in British schools due to pupils being taught to the test.  The real picture could be much worse:

"The results show that Britain has plummeted to 22nd of 29 countries, from 14th place 40 years ago, despite its pupils attaining ever-higher grades. They raise fears that an underclass is emerging, increasingly unsuited to the job market as manual work declines and competition grows from abroad.


While 97 per cent of South Korean students were awarded the equivalent of five good GCSEs, only 73 per cent of British exam candidates achieved the same results. They were surpassed by those educated in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Scandinavian countries and much of Western Europe."

In an article for the Telegraph Daniel Hannan sets out the solution; how we can bridge the gap between the quality and choice available to those who can afford it and the poor standards faced by everyone else:

"Look more closely at the countries that provide match-funding for private schools. Denmark, Sweden and Holland are, in most regards, precisely the kind of egalitarian societies that Left-wingers admire. Private schools are nothing special there, because all parents can take their financial entitlement to any school they wish.


Couldn't we do something similar here? Not a full-scale voucher scheme, but a legally enshrined opt-out, entitling parents to the £6,000-odd that would be spent on their behalf by their local education authority. Millions more would suddenly be able to afford private education and, as happens in Scandinavia, state schools would have to raise their game to retain customers."

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