Commenting on the latest OECD PISA report, Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust and of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:
“Today’s PISA results suggest some improvement in the ability of disadvantaged students in the UK to beat the odds and succeed in science, though such resilience is still well behind that of students in China and East Asia. It is also good to see improvements in our science ranking and a stronger position for the UK than the OECD average in the overall average performance of disadvantaged students.
“But overall, the continuing middling result for the UK nations on PISA remains worrying, particularly the very poor results in Wales, and this requires strong action to improve classroom teaching, particularly for disadvantaged students.
“We still need to do much more to narrow the gap between rich and poor students and we need far more focus on improving the quality of existing teachers within the classroom, through better professional development as well as improvements in school leadership. Such changes are more important than constant structural upheaval that has yet to deliver the promised improvements.
“Our earlier research has shown that English schools could improve their low position in international league tables in reading and mathematics and become one of the top five education performers in the world within 10 years, if the performance of the country’s least effective teachers were brought up to the national average.”