Estonia is Europe’s newest education powerhouse. It outperforms the major European economies, including the UK, in influential global education tests. These Pisa tests measure the ability of 15-year-olds to apply their skills and knowledge to real-life problem-solving in reading, maths, and science.
The OECD has run the tests since 2000, and most middle and higher-income countries take part. In the Pisa results published in 2016, Estonia came third in science while the UK was ranked 15th, and in reading Estonia was ranked sixth – far above the UK’s 22nd place.
UK spending on education is relatively high compared to the average across larger economies, but the same is not true of this small Baltic state.
Estonia has made high-quality early years education a priority. Kindergarten starts at the age of three.