Stephen Twigg MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, commenting on the release of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) league tables for education, said:
"These results show schools in England are some of the best in Europe - thanks to the hard work of teachers and pupils. The Labour Government's reforms saw reading results improve thanks to better teaching, smaller class sizes and Labour's National Literacy Strategy.
"However, we need to understand why East Asian countries out perform us in key skills - particularly science and maths. These countries are championing a modern curriculum focused on both academic rigour and skills - Labour believes we need to learn these lessons and build a 21st century curriculum with maths and science at its centre.
"While Michael Gove wants to copy free schools and profit making schools from Sweden – their place in reading league tables has been falling over the last decade.
"The worry is that the current Government is putting standards and our international competitiveness at risk with the sidelining of skills, 10,000 fewer teachers and cuts to primary school programmes for Maths and English tuition like Every Child a Reader and Every Child Counts."