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Summary statistics for schools in Scotland - No. 6: 2015 Edition

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4. Classes and pupils

12.2% of P1-P3 pupils were taught in classes of 18 or less

23.4 average class size for pupils in primary school

Table 4.1 shows the average class size for pupils in primary school. Class size data are not collected in the secondary sector as class size varies widely across subjects. The overall average class size in primary has remained at a similar level to last year, 23.4 in 2015 compared to 23.3 in 2014.

Table 4.1: Average class size of primary school pupils(1), 2006 to 2015

  2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015(2)
P1 23.1 20.9 21.0 21.1 21.1 20.5 20.6 21.2 21.2 21.1
P2 23.7 23.5 23.0 22.8 22.8 23.3 23.3 24.0 23.9 24.1
P3 24.1 24.0 24.0 23.7 23.4 23.9 24.0 24.5 24.7 24.8
P1-P3 23.6 22.8 22.6 22.5 22.4 22.5 22.6 23.2 23.3 23.3
primary 23.2 22.8 22.7 22.5 22.5 22.7 22.7 23.2 23.3 23.4

(1) Data refer to the average class size of pupils in each stage, not the average class size of single stage classes. The total average class size is calculated on a different basis than the P1 to P3 class sizes, see background note 3.7.
(2) 2015 primary school and pupil figures were updated in February 2016 but they did not affect the national class size figures. See background note 3.6 for details.

Table 4.2 shows the distribution of P1-P3 pupils in publicly funded schools by ranges of class size. One of the Scottish Government's aspirations is to reduce P1-P3 class sizes to 18 or less.

In September 2015, 12.2 per cent of P1-P3 pupils were taught in classes of 18 or less (including those taught by two teachers at all times with a class size of 36 or less), down 0.7 percentage points from 2014. The number of pupils taught in classes of 26 or more decreased from 57,424 in 2006 to a low of 32,702 in September 2009, before increasing again. In September 2015, the number of P1-P3 pupils taught in classes of 26 or more was 47,147 which is 27.3 per cent of pupils.

Table 4.2: Number of P1-P3 pupils by class size, 2006 to 2015(1)

Class Size 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014(2) 2015(3)
1 - 18 19,923 23,563 23,835 25,039 34,351 32,580 31,101 22,992 22,138 20,999
19 - 20 13,305 16,461 16,220 16,535 14,293 15,121 15,655 15,995 16,673 16,437
21 - 25 66,220 74,446 80,151 81,332 70,687 76,499 80,243 86,854 87,295 87,989
26 - 30 56,516 39,482 33,423 32,327 39,087 36,679 37,805 42,908 45,539 46,489
31 or more 908 345 317 375 249 757 473 736 470 658
% in classes of 18 or less or in 2 teacher classes of 36 or less 12.7 15.3 15.5 16.1 21.6 20.2 18.8 13.6 12.9 12.2

(1) The percentage of P1-P3 pupils in classes of 18 or less include two-teacher classes with 36 or less. Classes taught by two teachers at all times are treated as two classes of half the size.
(2) The number of P1-P3 pupils by class size in 2014 was amended slightly in February 2015 as one pupil had been recorded in the wrong class. This affected class size categories 1-18, 19-20 and 21-25.
(3) 2015 primary school and pupil figures were updated in February 2016. See background note 3.6 for details.

Legislation was introduced in November 2010 to limit class sizes for P1 pupils to 25. Table 4.3 shows the number of P1 pupils by class size. Some P1 pupils may be in classes of over 25 due to the inclusion of one or more "excepted pupil" (see background note 3.6). In 2015 the number of pupils in classes of 26 or more was 637, higher than in 2014 but still considerably lower than before the legislation was introduced in 2010.

Table 4.3: Number of P1 pupils by class size, 2006 to 2015

  2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011(1) 2012 2013 2014 2015(2)
1 - 18 8,164 11,062 11,653 11,796 16,156 16,208 15,713 11,968 11,558 11,213
19 - 20 5,416 8,253 8,066 7,967 5,967 8,025 8,459 8,554 8,822 9,377
21 - 25 20,822 30,311 30,681 29,794 24,568 30,351 32,009 36,310 36,722 35,930
26 or more 16,845 965 1,706 3,611 6,896 609 503 560 451 637

(1) Pupil numbers were corrected on 01 February 2012 to adjust for a two teacher class in P1 which had been treated as a large class.
(2) 2015 primary school and pupil figures were updated in February 2016. See background note 3.6 for details.

Table 4.4 shows the percentage of P1-P3 pupils in classes of 18 or less. These vary considerably between local authorities. The existence of large numbers of small schools in some areas is one of the main reasons for this. The national level of pupils in classes of 18 or less, rose from 12.7 per cent in 2006 to 21.6 per cent in 2010, before decreasing to 12.2 per cent in 2015.

Table 4.4: Percentage of P1-P3 pupils in classes of size 18 or less or in two teacher classes with a pupil teacher ratio of 18 or less, 2006 to 2015(1)

  2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015(3)
Aberdeen City 12.7 8.6 7.4 7.7 11.9 16.6 16.4 16.1 11.2 10.6
Aberdeenshire 16.1 15.6 13.3 13.0 12.6 11.1 13.1 14.9 13.3 12.4
Angus 6.5 13.8 12.8 17.9 26.8 25.5 20.4 21.0 23.1 22.4
Argyll & Bute 33.1 40.7 37.4 37.5 48.8 44.6 45.5 45.4 34.9 24.2
Clackmannanshire 12.4 23.7 20.4 20.0 28.2 22.0 19.0 16.1 17.8 11.8
Dumfries & Galloway 18.2 16.6 25.6 23.7 24.9 20.6 20.4 12.0 16.4 13.6
Dundee City 6.0 5.6 4.7 6.5 27.2 27.0 28.5 9.4 2.8 3.4
East Ayrshire 13.6 15.0 9.4 41.5 41.4 43.4 19.5 7.6 13.0 9.5
East Dunbartonshire 8.1 9.9 10.3 10.8 28.3 22.2 21.2 21.8 11.3 10.6
East Lothian 9.9 6.2 7.0 7.9 8.9 7.5 4.0 4.3 6.3 6.0
East Renfrewshire 10.2 9.9 5.4 6.5 32.5 38.1 35.6 7.6 15.7 9.5
Edinburgh, City of 7.1 12.8 14.1 14.5 16.5 15.3 15.3 7.0 7.2 6.1
Eilean Siar 70.7 72.5 66.6 57.9 74.7 62.8 51.7 39.8 48.0 51.3
Falkirk 7.9 11.7 11.0 7.7 12.6 7.7 8.5 4.9 6.3 8.5
Fife 10.2 19.2 12.9 16.1 26.0 26.7 27.4 24.1 22.9 20.8
Glasgow City 12.5 15.5 12.9 9.4 9.8 6.2 10.1 3.8 3.7 3.6
Highland 21.8 24.2 26.0 26.2 30.1 23.2 20.3 18.4 18.1 20.5
Inverclyde 9.2 16.8 8.2 10.2 20.6 16.8 12.3 9.3 10.0 7.5
Midlothian 8.1 8.6 12.9 24.7 9.2 15.3 5.0 7.7 11.7 10.3
Moray 7.4 12.6 16.9 7.2 26.1 19.7 20.6 8.9 14.1 10.8
North Ayrshire 10.5 9.3 5.8 6.5 25.1 7.7 11.6 7.2 7.6 10.8
North Lanarkshire 11.8 13.5 14.7 11.4 10.1 10.0 8.0 8.1 7.7 8.6
Orkney Islands 32.4 41.4 43.0 44.8 51.5 44.8 33.4 27.2 29.6 22.6
Perth & Kinross 19.9 19.9 16.7 17.0 23.3 26.6 20.7 15.7 15.1 14.3
Renfrewshire 7.3 7.8 8.5 8.3 33.1 34.6 36.5 6.9 10.8 11.9
Scottish Borders 12.9 17.7 27.0 30.7 30.1 23.1 22.6 21.6 12.7 14.3
Shetland Islands 55.6 51.0 53.0 43.4 43.3 31.6 24.5 26.5 31.2 25.5
South Ayrshire 16.9 14.0 17.2 24.3 25.7 28.4 23.4 20.2 17.8 24.6
South Lanarkshire 13.4 16.2 20.4 17.2 23.7 25.3 23.9 22.9 17.7 16.1
Stirling 12.8 15.4 12.3 17.5 23.0 26.7 24.9 17.4 15.2 17.4
West Dunbartonshire 11.9 18.1 23.2 20.8 31.6 22.6 15.9 9.9 13.3 13.6
West Lothian 9.2 10.5 24.8 25.5 19.8 26.0 24.4 20.3 17.0 13.6
Scotland (2) 12.7 15.3 15.5 16.1 21.6 20.2 18.8 13.6 12.9 12.2

(1) 2006-2009 figures were revised in 2010 to include two teacher classes with a pupil teacher ratio of 18 or less.
(2) The Scotland figure includes the one grant aided mainstream school.
(3) 2015 primary school and pupil figures were updated in February 2016. See background note 3.6 for details.

Table 4.5 shows pupil characteristics. These data are used primarily in equalities monitoring.

In 2015, 87.1 per cent of pupils were recorded as being White-Scottish or White-other British. The largest other ethnic backgrounds include White-Other (4.4 per cent), Asian Pakistani (1.9 per cent) and Mixed (1.2 per cent).

153,192 pupils (22.5 per cent of all pupils) had an additional support need recorded. This will include pupils in special schools and those in mainstream schools with a Co-ordinated Support Plan (CSP), Individualised Education Programme, Child Plan or some other type of support.

Table 4.5: Pupil characteristics: ethnicity, additional support needs and English as an additional language by gender, 2015(1), (2)

  Female Male Total
Ethnicity
White - Scottish 274,793 285,084 559,877
White - Other British 15,758 16,315 32,073
White - Gypsy/Traveller 530 530 1,060
White - Other 14,744 15,441 30,185
Mixed 3,984 3,948 7,932
Asian - Indian 2,372 2,562 4,934
Asian - Pakistani 6,156 6,470 12,626
Asian - Bangladeshi 422 422 844
Asian - Chinese 1,762 1,649 3,411
Asian - Other 1,765 1,782 3,547
Caribbean/Black 458 488 946
African 2,880 2,994 5,874
Other 2,087 2,239 4,326
Not known / not disclosed 5,942 6,219 12,161
Additional Support Needs (ASN)
CSP 944 1,772 2,716
IEP 11,627 25,541 37,168
Child Plans 7,396 12,839 20,235
Assessed/Declared Disabled 5,115 10,784 15,899
Other 47,147 68,382 115,529
Total pupils with ASN 59,829 93,363 153,192
English as an Additional Language 16,994 18,447 35,441
Total Pupils 333,719 346,288 680,007

(1) Data for ethnicity and English as an Additional Language does not include grant aided special schools as this information is not collected. There are 211 pupils at grant aided special schools.
(2) 2015 primary school and pupil figures were updated in February 2016. See background note 3.6 for details.