The BBC reports an Economist Intelligence Unit paper on world education rankings which puts the UK 6th in the top 20 developed countries. The usual suspects (Finland, South Korea,, Singapore, ...) are ahead of us – as we know. This is a broader measure than we're used to seeing, as the Beeb notes ...
The rankings combine international test results and data such as graduation rates between 2006 and 2010. … International comparisons in education have become increasingly significant - and this latest league table is based upon a series of global test results combined with measures of education systems, such as how many people go on to university. This composite picture puts the UK in a stronger position than the influential Pisa tests from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) - which is also one of the tests included in this ranking.
It's also about the UK, not just England, so the (good) Irish and Scots schools data, the (poor) Welsh outcomes, and the (middle-ish) English ones are leavened by tertiary considerations. Mr Gove should cheer quietly, once he recovers from the shock. As the FT notes, he has built his policies on the UK's poor international performances, so the good news may not be all that welcome.
The Economist's own report is here.