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Teenagers bad core skills ‘costing Britain trillions’

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13 May 2015

A new report has found around one in five British youngsters are lacking basic educational skills in core subjects, it claims at a cost of “trillions” to the economy…


The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), looked at the economic gain by bringing up the standard of teenagers’ reading, maths and science skills.

It found that if they are raised by 2030, it would add £2.3 trillion to the economy, 143 per cent of current GDP, by 2095.

It said: “The report shows that if every 15-year-old student in the world reached at least the baseline Level 1 of performance on the PISA scale by 2030 the benefits for economic growth and sustainable development would be enormous.”

The findings accompanied a new international league table ranking countries by the maths and science test scores among 15-year-olds.

Britain was placed 20th out of 76 countries.

It had an average score of 504 – 493.9 in maths and 514.1 in science

Singapore heads the table, followed by Hong Kong, with Ghana at the bottom.

The report said that around 20 per cent of students in the UK are considered to be performing below a basic skills level.

During a debate on the findings, which discussed issues such as how the UK can follow places like Shanghai, where a large proportion of youngsters reach at least a basic threshold, schools minister Lord Nash suggested that it was about having certain expectations.

“One of my priorities is trying to break the inter-generational unemployment we see in places like former mining villages, coastal towns, up and down the country.

“Although we have relatively high employment in this country and we have created a lot of new jobs, we still have children brought up in communities on the coast or mining towns who just live in a world of unemployment, their parents are unemployed their grandparents are unemployed.

“It’s shocking that for generations we’ve allowed that to happen. We have to break that cycle, partly by welfare reform but mainly through education.”

The ability to communicate through talking, listening, reading and writing is vitally important for every child’s educational development.

Earlier this year, a report for the LGA suggested the teenage dropout rate costs the country £814m a year.

Researchers looked at dropout and failure figures on A-levels, apprenticeships and further education courses and found 178,000 16 to 18-year-olds were not completing their courses.

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