Richard Lambert, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), has called for “urgency” in tackling the UK’s underperformance in literacy and numeracy following an ‘average’ performance in a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Britain slipped from eighth to 24th position for maths skills among 15-year-olds, and from seventh to 17th for reading in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) study.
Lambert said: “The OECD figures make for disturbing reading. At a time of increasing global competition, the UK cannot afford to be ‘average’.
“We must help our young people to attain the world–class performance they are capable of. We need a renewed sense of urgency in tackling the UK’s underperformance in literacy and numeracy,” he said.
Chinese Taipei ranked highest for pupils’ performance in the maths tests, with the UK reaching 495, three points under the OECD average of 498.
Korea scored highest for pupils’ reading skills, with a score of 556, with the UK achieving 495 points, behind Estonia and Poland.