Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, welcomed the news that pupils in England are outperforming peers across the world in reading and literacy, according to an international study published today.

The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) ranks England joint eighth out of 50 countries, and among the highest performing countries in Europe. The results – which are based on a study of the reading comprehension and enjoyment of a cohort of 340,000 nine-year-olds around the world - mean England's nine-year-olds are significantly better readers than their American, Canadian and Australian counterparts.

The study was first introduced in 2001, and this year's results are the country's best to date and a dramatic improvement on the 2006 results, when England was ranked 19th out of 45 countries. The study also reveals that, while all pupils are making improvements, it is low-performing pupils who have made the greatest progress.

The improved PIRLS results reflect the raising of standards in schools more generally across the country. Thanks to the dedication of teachers and the government's reforms, the proportion of pupils meeting the expected standard in phonics has risen from just 58% in 2012 to 81% in 2017, with 92% of pupils reaching this standard by age seven.

The attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their more affluent peers has also closed by 9.3% at age 11 and 7% at age 16 and this summer secondary schools rose to the challenge of the new more demanding GCSEs in English and maths.

Commenting Caroline said:

"This study, accompanied by the fact that 1.8million more pupils are being educated in good or outstanding schools since 2010, really shows the Government's commitment to ensuring that every child can fulfil their potential.

I am delighted that we are among the top 10 countries in the world, and one of the best performing countries in Europe, in reading and literacy. It's a great testament to the dedication and commitment of our teaching professionals."

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

"Today's results put the success of our increased emphasis on phonics and continued focus on raising education standards on a global scale. Thanks to the hard work of teachers across the country, 154,000 more six year olds are reading better than ever before – this is fundamental to our ambition of helping every child fulfil their potential.

Our rise through the global rankings is even more commendable because it has been driven by an increase in the number of low-performing pupils reading well. This demonstrates our determination to ensure this is a country that works for everyone, regardless of background."

For more information please visit