Thursday - 28 February 2008
Pupils in compulsory schools in autumn 2007
The number of pupils has decreased since the previous school year
In autumn 2007 there were 43,802 pupils in compulsory education in Iceland. In addition there were 124 pupils in 5 schools attending the 5 year old grade. The number of pupils has decreased by 73 since the previous school year, or by 0.2%. It is expected that the number of pupils in compulsory education will continue to decrease in the next years, since the age groups that will be entering compulsory education are smaller than the age groups that will be completing compulsory education. The number of pupils in compulsory education in Iceland was greatest in autumn 2003, a total of 44,809.
These figures are derived from the Statistics Iceland data collection from compulsory schools, which is undertaken in October every year. Statistics Iceland has collected this information since the autumn of 1997 and now publishes the data for the 11th year. When comparing with data from 1997 the number of pupils in compulsory education has increased by 1,484, an increase of 3.5%.
The number of pupils in private schools has increased by almost 100
During the school year 2007-2008 there are 9 private schools operating with 664 pupils attending. The number of pupils has increased by 92 since the previous school year. The number of pupils in private compulsory schools has never been greater since the start of the data collection by Statistics Iceland in 1997. In 2007 54.4% more pupils attended private schools than in the autumn of 2004, when the number of students was the lowest in the last decade. Two new private schools operating according to the Hjalli pedagogy opened in autumn 2007, increasing the number of private schools by two.
There are 173 compulsory schools operating in Iceland, the same number as in the previous year. New schools opened while others were shut down or united with other schools. There are 4 special education schools operating in Iceland with 146 pupils in attendance.
Approximately 4% of pupils have a foreign mother tongue
The number of pupils with a foreign mother tongue increases year by year. In the autumn of 2007, 1,731 pupils have a foreign mother tongue, or 4.0% of all pupils. Polish speakers are most numerous, or 482. Almost 60% of speakers of Polish live outside the capital area.
Fewer pupils per full-time equivalent teacher
There were 4,990 teaching staff members in autumn 2007 and 9.5 pupils per full-time equivalent teacher. The number of pupils per full-time equivalent teacher has decreased year by year. In autumn 1998 there were 13.3 pupils for each full-time equivalent teacher.
On average there are 18.4 pupils in each class. Special education schools and departments are not included. The average class size increases with the higher age of pupils. The average class size is smallest in the 1st grade, or 16.5, while the largest classes are in the 9th grade, with 19.7 pupils on average. Information is not always available on the number of teachers teaching each class but in some cases large classes are taught by more than one teacher. Also, multi-grade teaching is becoming more common and not only in small schools in the countryside.