English boost to Scottish results

1st January 1999 at 00:00
English families help to raise Scottish school performance. That startling finding comes from an international survey of mathematic scores among nine-year-olds. Children both of whose parents were born south of the border produced higher scores than those whose parents are Scottish born.

The statistic in the report by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development puts Scotland at odds with all 15 other countries in the survey, including England, where children of immigrants drag down the national performance.

The tests give a score of 402 for Scottish pupils both of whose parents were born out of the country. But for those with both parents Scottish born, it sinks to 383.

The un-noticed finding in the annual OECD Education at a Glance, published last month, gives Scotland a mediocre result internationally, where the mean score for pupils of immigrant origin was 362, rising to 393 for those with both parents born in the country. England, too, fared badly by comparison with such countries as Korea, Czech Republic, Austria and the Netherlands.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Office Education and Industry Department confirmed that most of the 9 per cent of children whose parents were both immigrants were of English origin. That contrasts with England a high percentage of the 9 per cwhere ent immigrant families were West Indian or south Asian.

Lindsay Paterson, professor of public policy at Moray House Institute of Edinburgh University, said that most families settling in Scotland from England were of good education and in high status jobs. "The findings in this survey help to confirm that fact," he said.

But he added there were many complex issues surrounding the social and cultural effects of immigration. "In a previous generation a high percentage of immigrants would have been from Ireland, and that would have had a different effect on such a survey."

Leader, Page six

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