PIRLs results: Best ever reading results for England (and no. 8 out of 50 countries)(14 Posts)
What the title says, basically. I know there are problems and challenges in the education system in England, but these results are so encouraging, and are (I believe) testament to the big improvements in reading instruction among England's teachers that we've seen in England in the past decade or so, not to mention lots of hard work.
I live overseas and have to teach my child English literacy at home, as do most of my fellow English-speaking parents who comes from countries ranging from Australia to South Africa. I get to see a lot of reading programs from various English speaking countries. England has far better reading and phonics programs than Oz, the US, Canada or most other English-speaking countries. Programs like Sounds-Write, RWI and the new ORT are just great.
I've also seen a lot of families back in England putting their kids though English state schools, and one thing that has come up again and again is "My younger son/daughter seems to have cracked reading and spelling quicker and with less stress than my eldest. Maybe having a role model helps, but it seems like the instruction methods are better now, too."
I really hope that this will continue, and that some of the improvements in the English teaching methods will also be picked up by other countries around the world.
So, anyway---there have been a few negative posts about "teachers in general" recently, so I thought a positive one was in order, for a change!
Looking at the results, I would be even more interested to know what system used in Ireland. They seemed to have performed quite a bit better.
Actually, looking at it again, Northern Ireland did very well too.
Ranking 2016 (Ranking 2011)CountryAverage scale score
3 (1)Hong Kong569
7 (5)Northern Ireland565
Not sure, but I think both Ireland and Northern Ireland have more traditional and "prescribed" (ie. fairly detailed schemes of work setting out what content has to be covered in a fairly standardized and systematics way) primary curricula, with a significantly heavier use of standardized textbooks in particular. I've seen parents on here howling about how expensive the primary textbooks are, as I believe everyone other than low income families must pay the full cost themselves.
Getting students reading well requires good decoding but it also requires strong general knowledge (history, geography, science, RE and civics) and an excellent vocabulary. It may be that while England is doing better with the former, Ireland and NI are doing better with the latter, and that this is tipping the overall balance. Ideally, of course, you'd want a primary curriculum to do both these things well. Definitely, countries including England should be taking a look at certain things that Ireland and NI seem to be getting right as well.
N. Ireland is better funded than England in terms of education. I don't know if the same is true in the republic but I do know that school is expensive for parents - books, parental contributions, travel - so overall total € per pupil may be higher, from state and parents.
I also wonder if Ireland has the same level of deprivation than parts of England and Scotland. My sense is not and I know the republic well at least (N. Ireland not so much).
I am not from the UK but am so so impressed with London teachers at primary level.
I can't believe how wonderful the teaching is at the primary school my children go to, it is rated "good" in terms of Ofsted.
When family visit from overseas they are always amazing at the level of homework, reading and general fun things my kids do as a result of wonderful primary teachers.
I realise the curriculum is not easy and I think teachers have had a hard time with the government but it seems to me most teachers really know what they are doing and are professional and passionate about the difference they make.
I really think the key stage 1 teachers my children have had have set them up for life as they both have this immense curiosity and love of learning which teachers have really encouraged.
But got to say my friends who live in other parts of London seem equally happy.
I do think in London anyhow the teaching at state primaries is pretty good
That's lovely to hear. A friend lived in blackheath and is very pleased with her child's school
Unfortunately for those of us not living in London, the experience can be very patchy across the country. In rural and seaside areas, the social mobility expectations and achievement levels are less encouraging.
The teaching is better in England but the behaviour is better in Ireland. That's my experience anyway. (I'm an Irish secondary teacher in London.) Teaching is also a highly respected job in Ireland, which it isn't in the UK. I think that's another major factor.
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