Wales lags behind other UK nations

10th December 2010 at 00:00

Teachers in Wales are bracing themselves for intense scrutiny and tough new accountability measures after the Pisa survey showed they had performed significantly worse than the other UK nations.

The Welsh Education Minister, Leighton Andrews, said there could be "no alibis and no excuses" for the "disappointing" performance.

In maths and reading, pupils' results were significantly below the OECD average, and Welsh 15-year-olds performed worse in all three subjects tested - reading, maths and science - than in 2006.

Mr Andrews said the results could not be "argued away or excused", adding: "Schools, local government and Government need to look honestly at these results and accept responsibility for them."

England's showing was broadly on a par with that of Scotland: reading - Scotland 500, England 495; maths - Scotland 499, England 493; science - Scotland 514, England 515.

Overall, the UK is ranked 25th for reading, 28th for maths and 16th for science.

Michael Gove, the Westminster Education Secretary, said his proposed reforms had been inspired by the Finnish education system. He was nevertheless "daunted" by the scale of the challenge England faced, he said.

"Other countries have been improving rapidly and, despite the massive investment over the last 13 years, we haven't been improving at the rate we should have been," Mr Gove commented.

The UK overall spends pound;54,000 per pupil, while Germany and Hungary achieve a similar performance for pound;40,000 and pound;28,000. Only seven other OECD countries spend more per student than the UK. Secondary school teachers in the UK are paid in line with these countries but work longer hours than the OECD average.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today