The reading, writing and numeracy attainments of this age group at the top end are among the best in the world. Except in number skills at age 13 over 20 years ago and in writing between 1980 and 1993 there is no evidence of a decline in any area. Overall, the data suggest that average attainments in all three areas have improved over roughly the last decade. Most young people do have functional to good literacy and numeracy, but more needs to be done. In particular, about 17% of young people aged 16–19 have poorer literacy, and about 22% have poorer numeracy, than is needed for full participation in today’s society.