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PISA Report

Volume 573: debated on Monday 6 January 2014

10. What assessment he has made of the findings of the recent PISA report as they relate to England; and if he will make a statement. (901747)

The PISA results for 2012 showed that England’s performance has stagnated in the league tables, with no improvement over the entire period of the previous Government’s time in office. In contrast, Germany and Poland reformed their education systems and saw a significant improvement in their results, and east Asia also moved ahead. That is why this Government are learning from the success of those other countries by increasing school freedom and accountability and focusing on core academic subjects.

The PISA results also showed that things in Wales have not only stagnated, but gone backwards, and that educational standards in England are still far higher than they are in Wales, where the Welsh Assembly’s Labour Minister recently had to make a fulsome apology on the front page of the Western Mail for his party’s abysmal failure. Why does my hon. Friend the Minister believe that educational standards in England are so much higher than those under the Labour-run Welsh Assembly?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right and the Welsh Minister was right to apologise for letting children in Wales down. The reality is that the Welsh Government caved in to the unions and abolished national tests and league tables, and their results in maths have plummeted to lower than 40th in the PISA tables. That shows how vital it is that we increase accountability in this country and keep up the pace of our reforms to make sure that we push ahead like countries such as Germany and Poland, rather than fall behind like Wales.

The PISA report emphasised the potential benefits of raising standards through collaboration between schools. The 2010 teaching White Paper committed £35 million to school collaboration. Why has that commitment not been fulfilled?

We absolutely encourage collaboration, which is one of the reasons why we sent 50 teachers over to Shanghai to see how they do things there and to put that in place in our classrooms. We have already seen the results in some of our schools in England, including improved practice in the classroom and improved teaching results.