A WORLD-wide education study has shown that pupils in England have risen up the international rankings for maths, reading and science.

The Programme for International Student Assessment is an international assessment of 15-year-olds’ mathematics, reading and science ability and is widely accepted as the international benchmark for academic attainment for secondary school pupils.

Compared to 2009 (the Labour Party’s last full year in office), England has risen from 27th to 11th in Maths, from 25th to 13th in reading, and from 16th to 13th in science.

While there is often some variation within the rankings each year, the figures represent a clear and very positive shift in how pupils are performing compared to 14 years ago.

These huge steps forward have not occurred by accident. Education reforms, with a stronger focus on core subjects along with investment in our schools, have helped to deliver this vast improvement.

In cash terms, total school revenue funding in England has increased from £35 billion to £57.3 billion under this government.

Next year it will rise to £58.5 billion. Even when inflation is taken into account, schools will receive more money per pupil in 2024-25 than at any point in our history.

Here in Central Devon, under Labour, our primary schools received significantly less per pupil than the national average but action from this government means funding has now caught up.

In fact, for the current academic year, local primary schools are, on average, receiving more per pupil than the national average.

Aside from attainment, the report has highlighted other positive findings, including that England’s education system is more equitable than most; meaning that all children have access to high quality education, regardless of their background. 

The report also found that the majority of pupils in England reported feeling safe in their schools.

This rise in secondary school education standards mirrors progress in primary education.

A separate international study earlier this year showed that England has climbed international league tables in reading to now sit fourth out of 43 comparable countries and is now the highest-ranked country in Europe.

Phonics has been key to this and since the government introduced the phonics screening check in 2021, there has been an increase in the number of five and six-year-olds meeting the expected standard from 58 per cent to 79 per cent.

Maths has also been improving, with Ofsted recently reporting a "resounding, positive shift" in primary mathematics education.

This significant progress would not have been possible without the hard work and commitment of our teachers.

I regularly visit local schools (in the past couple of years I have visited Hatherleigh, Chagford, Morchard Bishop, Bradninch, Bow, Newton St Cyres, Chudleigh Knighton, Kenn, Dunsford and Christow Primary Schools, as well as South Dartmoor Community College in Ashburton) and, without exception, pupils have been well behaved and engaged with their learning.

Our headteachers and teachers are clearly doing an excellent job and I am very grateful for their dedication.

More from Mel at: www.melstridemp.com or follow him on X (Twitter) @MelJStride.