NI primary kids best in Europe for maths

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Northern Ireland school children are the most proficent mathematicians in Europe, a major international survey has found.

Children aged between nine and 10 from Northern Ireland were the top performers in Europe, and sixth overall in the world league table when it comes to mathematics.

The outstanding performances of pupils from the Province were highlighted by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) who carried out the research for the Department of Education.

Data from the 2015 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) reveal that only five of the 50 countries taking part in the mathematics assessments outperformed Northern Ireland. They were all East Asian countries, namely Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Chinese Taipei and Japan.

Achievement in science was found to be not as high, but is still above the international average.

Education Minister Peter Weir said: “The report shows that primary schools here have maintained a strong performance in the subject as demonstrated in the previous TIMSS study in 2011.

“It also highlights that primary schools in Northern Ireland have highly qualified principals and teachers who are committed to continued professional development.”

He added: “The vast majority of children have parents with a positive attitude towards mathematics and science.

“In addition, our principals and teachers were reported to have some of the highest levels of emphasis on academic success. A positive attitude towards learning is also fostered by our pupils with the majority reporting that they enjoy learning maths and science.”

Meanwhile, over 100 schools in Belfast and Newtownabbey will be hit by strike action today. NASUWT members are protesting over pay, workload and job insecurity in the first of a series of one-day strikes.