Teachers and schools should not be criticised following the publication of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) report.
This is according to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), which said the government should resist any temptation to use the findings as an excuse to "bash" education professionals.
Martin Johnson, deputy general secretary of the ATL, commented: "The Pisa report has plenty of good news about Britain's education system - excellent relationships between staff and students, good behaviour, staff who do not resist change and who are passionate about improving the life-chances of young people.
"And schools in England have had the autonomy over resources which Pisa recommends for nearly two decades. However, any politicians wanting to make cheap points will undoubtedly find something to use among the vast amount of information."
The report ranked Poland ahead of England for maths and Norway for reading.