Let's hear it for primary maths
Let me remind you of some of this good news:
* In 1995, England scored 484 scale points - 16 points below the international average - and ranked 17th out of 26 countries. In 2003, England scored 531 scale points - 36 scale points above the international average - and ranked 10th out of 25 countries.
* Only six of the participating countries scored significantly higher than England - the four Pacific Rim countries, Belgium and the Netherlands - and four (including Hungary) scored at a similar level. The 14 that performed significantly worse included Scotland (one point ahead of England in 1995), the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Italy.
* In 1995, England had significantly lower scores than more than half of the participating countries (14). In 2003, we had lower scores than less than a quarter of them (six).
* England's increased score of 47 points was the largest of any country.
Surely results like these were worth celebrating, but I am aware that "bad news" is considered to make better reading than "good news".
Professor Ian Thompson
Millfield Road, Riding Mill, Northumberland