‘You need to work hard,’ Sunderland Tory tells Wearside’s children

Coun Robert Oliver
Coun Robert Oliver
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A SUNDERLAND politician says children in the UK need to work harder in school.

Latest results for the international PISA tests, which ranks countries globally on educational success, revealed this week that the UK is falling behind global rivals.

The tests, taken by 15 year olds, failed to put the UK in the top 20 countries for maths, science and reading, with Shanghai, China, at the top of the educational tree.

Councillor Robert Oliver, Tory spokesman for education in Sunderland and a teacher, said: “The report reveals that the main problem lies with the under performance of the poorest pupils and this is being recognised with a renewed focus on the quality of teaching and attempts to direct more funding to those pupils.

“But the bottom line with educational attainment is the willingness of pupils, of all income levels, to work hard and for their parents to support them and their school as is more common in societies where education is more highly prized.”

Joe Elliott, a Durham University professor of education, said: “It is not possible to directly import classroom practices from Asia because they are dependent upon attitudes, behaviours and values that are not commonly found in the UK.

“Essentially, ‘learner demand’, a fierce drive to succeed educationally, backed up by high societal value and respect for education and strong parental and peer support, results in disciplined classrooms, a willingness to subordinate individual needs to those of the group, and a commitment to study for prolonged periods of time.” He said: “While high-level teacher skills are essential for maximising student performance, at a national level, these cannot have any impact without a culture of hard work, a drive to succeed educationally, backed up by strong support outside school. Although, of course, many would say this culture could be unhealthy.”