Classes in Finland are far more relaxed than those in the UK. Photograph: www.alamy.com
In 2009 the UK's education policy directors suffered a significant blow. The PISA tests (OECD Programme for International Study Assessment) results were published, ranking the UK way down the international league table in reading, maths and science.
In total 65 countries were assessed; the UK scored: 25th in reading, 28th in maths and 16th in science. The overall best performer in the 2009 test was the region of Shanghai, China. Results from PISA suggested that school autonomy in defining the curriculum and assessment methods relates positively to overall performance. Additionally, the PISA data reported that creating homogeneous schools and/or classrooms through selection is unrelated to the average performance of education systems