Summary Statistics for Schools in Scotland 2021 Published

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

This release provides the latest information on pupils, teachers, pupil attendance, exclusions from school, and early learning and childcare.

The 2021 edition of Summary Statistics for Schools in Scotland shows that over the year to 2021 teacher numbers increased by 885 to 54,285. Pupil numbers have not increased at the same rate therefore the pupil teacher ratio has decreased to 13.2.

Additional teachers have been recruited since 2020 to support the recovery of education following the disruption caused by COVID-19. These additional teachers are likely to be a major contributing factor to the increase in teacher numbers and the reduction in overall PTR.

In 2021, the overall pupil teacher ratio (PTR) in all publicly funded schools was 13.2, down from 13.3 in 2020. The PTR shows the number of pupils per teacher so gives a measure of the size of the teaching workforce compared with the pupil population.

An increase in the number of teachers in primary schools, combined with a decrease in the number of pupils has resulted in a reduction in PTR to 15.1 (from 15.4 in 2020), the lowest ever. In secondary schools the rate of increase in the number of teachers was greater than the rate of increase in pupil numbers. Therefore, the PTR decreased to 12.4 (from 12.5 in 2019).

The proportion of Teacher Induction Scheme probationers that secured a (permanent or temporary) teaching post in a Scottish school in the year following their probation was 80%, a decrease of five percentage points from 2020 (85%).

The overall average class size in primary schools was 23.2, up from 23.1 in 2020.

Cases of exclusion have fallen from high of 44,794 (63.9 cases per 1,000 pupils) in 2006/07 to 8,323 (11.9 cases per 1,000 pupils) in 2020/21. There was a particularly notable decrease in exclusion between 2018/19 and 2020/21, with cases falling 44%.

Attendance in the 2020/21 school year was substantially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ‘attendance – schools open’ rate, which excludes periods of COVID-19 related school closures, was 92.0%. This is a decrease from 93.0% in 2018/19 and the lowest rate since comparable figures began in 2003/04.

There was an increase in the number of funded registrations for early learning and childcare (ELC) from 90,126 in 2020 to 91,603 in 2021. An estimated 13% of two year olds were registered for funded ELC, an increase from 9% in 2020. The FTE of teachers, graduate staff and staff working towards graduate level qualifications in funded ELC was 5,387, an increase of 372 since 2020.


Summary Statistics for Schools in Scotland brings together a wide range of information on school education and early learning and childcare provision in Scotland and covers: pupils, teachers, pupil attendance, exclusions from school, and early learning and childcare.

Supplementary tables from the school staff census, the pupil census and the attendance, absence and exclusions collection will be published in March 2022.

Additional Early Learning and Childcare Tables were published today.

A dashboard with further breakdowns of post-probationer teacher statistics was published today.

Further information on school statistics within Scotland is available online.

Official statistics are produced in accordance with professional standards.


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