Latest Issue

Books in brief: Cleverlands by Lucy Crehan

How are schools in different countries achieving academic success?

By Patrick Alexander   January 2017

cover-jpg-rendition-460-707Cleverlands by Lucy Crehan (Unbound, £16.99)

The academic progress of the world’s 15-year-olds is tested regularly by PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment). Pupils from Finland, Japan and Shanghai consistently excel. In 2012, the UK finished near the bottom of the top third, despite relative economic strength. In footballing terms, we’re Everton. Good, but room for improvement.

Rankings matter. For David Cameron’s government, our PISA level became a rhetorical tool, and an enabler of Michael Gove’s reform agenda—why can’t the UK be more like Shanghai? More pertinently: how are high PISA scores achieved?…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect