Scottish schools

14 October 2016
What was claimed

School standards in Scotland are falling.

Our verdict

Correct according to various sets of pupil tests, although international tests suggest that standards are improving in some subjects.

“School standards are falling in Scotland.”

Damian Green MP, 13 October 2016

It’s correct that school standards recently appear to be falling in Scotland, although there are many ways of looking at it.

We’ve chosen three. First, reading and writing. The percentage of primary school children doing ‘well’ or ‘very well’ on numeracy tests fell significantly between 2011 and 2015, according to the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy. Performance among 13 and 14 year olds was steady.

It also shows that the percentage hitting that benchmark in literacy “was slightly lower in 2014 than 2012 at all stages”.

Next, exam results. In the rest of the UK we would look at GCSE results. In Scotland a rough equivalent is the National 5 qualification. It’s fairly new, so we only have three years’ worth of results to compare. They again show a slight decline in performance, with the percentage of children getting A-C grades falling from 81% in 2014, 80% in 2015 and 79% in 2016.

Finally, the PISA test designed for international comparisons has shown a steep fall in maths scores since 2003, although science results have been fairly steady and literacy results recovering since 2006.

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.