Rachel Maclean, MP for Redditch County, has praised the hard work of teachers and schools after it was revealed reading standards in England’s schools are the best they’ve been in more than 15 years.

The results of the 2016 ‘Progress in International Reading Literacy Study’ (PIRLS) in England were published last week and found England has risen to joint eighth place in the rankings. PIRLS is an international comparative study directed by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement in which 50 countries around the world took part.

England was among the top-performing countries in PIRLS 2001, with an average score of 553, but its average performance dropped to 539 in 2006 – an historic low under the last Labour Government.

Since 2010, and after the Conservative-led Government reformed the education system, the average score has risen back up to 552 in PIRLS 2011, and again to 559 in PIRLS 2016. This is England’s highest-ever average score.

The excellent education news continues after Department for Education figures also revealed 155,000 more six-year-old children are on track to become fluent readers compared to 2012 after the way pupils learn to read was reformed by the Conservative-led Government.

By encouraging teachers to use phonics – where pupils are taught to read by breaking words down into their component sounds – 81 per cent of pupils are meeting the expected standard in phonics, up from just 58 per cent in 2012. 92 per cent of pupils are also reaching the expected standard by age seven.

Rachel said: “Thanks to the amazing work of our schools and dedicated teachers, more children now have the skills they need to set them up for success in the future.

“We are now seeing the results of the reforms the Conservative-led Government introduced in 2010 which have led to huge improvements in our children’s reading standards.

“From an historic low PIRLS score under the last Labour Government, England is now in joint eighth place and I’m sure this will be welcomed by parents in Redditch.

“I will be writing to all schools in Redditch to thank them for their hard work and determination in making sure our children are equipped for the future.”