PISA results: ‘Perhaps a relief, but not a reprieve, for the Education Minister', says Suzy Davies AM

Report shows modest improvements, but Wales still bottom in the UK for the fifth time running.

Commenting on the PISA report published today (December 3), Suzy Davies AM, Shadow Minister for Education, said:  “For the Minister, this may be something of a relief, but it is anything but a reprieve.

“Of course I welcome any improvement on previous years’ miserable scores, but the Minister has missed targets confirmed by the First Minister only a fortnight ago, and Wales is still performing less well than the other nations of the UK.”

In reading, Wales scored 480, trailing England on 505, Scotland on 504 and Northern Ireland on 501, but perhaps most troubling of all is that that the average for developed nations is 487.

In maths, Wales scored 487 which is close to the average of 489 that Scotland achieved, but again, below Northern Ireland on 492, and far behind England on 504. The OECD average is 489.

And when it comes to science, Wales scored 488, close to the average of 489. Scotland scored 490, Northern Ireland achieved 491, but England was again far in the lead with 507.

Ms Davies, who represents South Wales West, added: “And the Minister cannot take comfort from Wales finally coming within spitting distance of the OECD average as that average has itself fallen.

“We know that this year’s GCSE results, which are better aligned with PISA than previously, were weaker than previously. We also know that Scotland, which still outperforms Wales, is on the slide. That raises questions about how curriculum change, based on the Scottish experience, will further affect our next PISA results.

“This time the Minister cannot look back and sigh heavily about her predecessor’s record. She may well point to the buds in these PISA results, but will they be enough to stop the vine withering away?”