Commenting on the OECD’s annual Education at a Glance report, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“The findings of the OECD’s latest Education at a Glance provide another worrying reminder that education in England is moving in the wrong direction and is an outlier compared with other OECD countries. We need a strong education system to build firm foundations for our economic growth.

“The study shows that England has among the highest university tuition fees across the OECD and that our students are graduating with enormous debt burdens – approaching £50,000 on average per student. This puts further and higher education out of the reach of many young people and means the UK will struggle to fulfil its commitments under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to which it has signed up alongside other world leaders. Goal 4 commits it to ensure ‘inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.’

“The study also confirms that teachers’ pay in England has fallen since 2005 by 10% on average and by 3% for teachers with 15 or more years’ experience, contributing to our growing teacher recruitment and retention crisis. The retention problem is demonstrated by the OECD’s finding that over 30% of England’s teachers are aged under 30 whereas they make up only a small proportion of the teaching population, at all levels of education across OECD countries.”