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School is far more fun in Scotland

The full report on the Scottish figures from the 2000 Pisa study is not due until next month, but some early findings were revealed at the conference by Jo MacDonald, a principal research officer in the Scottish Executive Education Department.

Scottish schools score highly when it comes to school life - 83 per cent of 15-year-olds said the teacher helps students with their work "in most or every English lesson", one of the highest figures of any country.

There are also high ratings for English teachers for showing an interest in every student's learning (77 per cent), continuing to teach until students understand (76 per cent) and giving students an opportunity to express their opinions (72 per cent).

Comments on discipline suggested that bad behaviour can be a significant, if minority, problem. A quarter of pupils in the study reported "noise and disorder" in most or every English lesson and a similar proportion said the teacher had to wait a long time for students to settle down. A fifth said that students do not listen to what the teacher says.

But there was strong agreement with the statement "my school is a place where I feel I belong" - 85 per cent - while 92 per cent said they made friends easily.

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