Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development survey warns raising school leaving age is not enough to boost UK skills

Plans to raise the school leaving age to 18 will do little to increase UK skills unless efficiency in the classroom is improved, an economic study has warned.

An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) survey published today has warned the key priority for government should be to concentrate on pupils of all ages acquiring basic maths and English skills – focusing on quality, not quantity, of teaching for best results.

The report said: “The government is considering raising the number of years of compulsory education or training, but care should be taken to ensure that greater quantity of education is not sought at the expense of quality.”

The OECD also warned there is “no strong empirical link” between aggregate education spending and pupil achievement.

“Additional resources do not automatically translate into better results,” it said. “Given the need for tight expenditure control, this suggests that the focus in education spending should shift to improving the efficiency of existing spending.

“The key priority should be to continue to promote a focus on the acquisition of core literacy and numeracy skills for pupils at all age levels.”

The OECD report is published every one-and-a-half to two years. The next will be out in 2009.

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