British schools slide down world league for sciences from 4 to 14t

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London, Nov 30 (UNI) Britain has tumbled down another education league table, in science this time.

In six years, the UK has slumped from fourth to 14th place in a table of 15-year-olds' performance in science tests.

UK schools trail major European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, as well as smaller nations such as Estonia and Liechtenstein.

It is the second slide down an international education league in as many days and piles further pressure on Gordon Brown over Labour's multi-billion pound education reforms.

A separate report published yesterday on ten-year-olds' reading standards saw England fall from third to 19th place.

A latest study, from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), gave more than 400,000 students from 57 countries a two-hour science test containing 80 questions. UK pupils averaged 515 points, 48 behind the leaders Finland.

In the year 2000-2003, the UK was ranked fourth and 12th respectively out of 44 countries.

The OECD has said comparisons between the 2006 tests and the earlier ones were not ''strictly valid'' since they were different.

Critics have said the contrast was the evidence of falling standards.

Schools Minister Jim Knight stated, ''This study shows we're well above average, but we know we need to do more to be truly world class.'' However, business leaders have warned they are being forced to look abroad to fill top jobs because thousands of bright British teenagers are dropping science and maths in favour of 'glamorous' A-level subjects.

UNI

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