Teacher numbers increase

Unprecedented new data released on pupil attainment.

Deputy First Minster John Swinney has welcomed an increase in the number of teachers in Scottish schools – including 160 teachers directly funded by the Scottish Government’s Attainment Scotland Fund.

The figure has been revealed in two reports published today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician. The Summary Statistics for Schools in Scotland includes teacher numbers, pupil teacher ratios and class-sizes.

In a new publication produced ahead of the introduction of standardised assessments, Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Levels reveals teachers’ own judgements of pupil attainment. In future these statistics will be informed by the new standardised assessments and today’s figures provide a basis upon which to build our knowledge about how children are progressing at school.

The statistics, for 2016, reveal:

  • there were 253 more full-time equivalent (FTE) teachers than last year. Of those, 160 were directly funded by the Scottish Government’s Attainment Scotland Fund
  • class sizes in P1 to P3 are the same as last year and broadly static across Primary School
  • the pupil teacher ratio remains unchanged for the third successive year at 13.7, in line with the Scottish Government’s agreement with local authorities
  • most children are achieving the expected Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) level for their stage, based on teacher professional judgement
  • the vast majority of children in S3 are at or above the attainment level expected of them, known as CfE Level 3
  • a record 666 school buildings in the top condition category of ‘good’ and 84% of school buildings in ‘good’ or ‘satisfactory’ condition.

The Deputy First Minister said:

“I very much welcome the rise in teacher numbers compared to last year. We can also see that class sizes are broadly stable and the pupil teacher ratio has been maintained. This is all good news, particularly when you consider the teacher recruitment challenges being faced in some areas.

“The initial teacher judgement data, published today for the very first time, illuminates progress being made in different parts of the country, and by children in our least and most deprived areas. These figures shine a light on where excellence already exists and where there is more to do, both to target resources and to ensure that children are getting the right support at the right time. They come ahead of the introduction of standardised assessments next year and provide a basis upon which to build our knowledge about how children are progressing at school.

“The wide variation in some of the data does, however, highlight the value that standardised assessment will bring. Currently there are inconsistencies in the way young people’s progress is being assessed and reported in schools across the country. The standardised assessments will provide teachers with nationally consistent data to help inform their professional judgement.

“Even taking this into account, the data published today show that significant improvements are required in some local authorities. I would encourage parents to consider the school level information that is now available and discuss it with their child’s school.”

Mr Swinney continued:

“This government is already taking action and implementing radical reforms – in line with the OECD’s recommendations - to strengthen our education system and raise attainment for all.

“Our £750 million Attainment programme to close the gap for our pupils from the most deprived areas is already having a tangible impact, not least by directly funding 160 full time equivalent teachers.  We are strengthening school leadership and, through the governance review, empowering schools to take the decisions necessary to improve children’s attainment. I am also freeing teachers to teach through my drive to simplify and clarify the curriculum.

“Later today I will update Parliament on the Scottish Government’s Improvement Plan for taking forward our educational reform programme. The collaboration in our education system is one of its great strengths and it is essential we all work together to deliver the improvements required to make Scotland’s education world class.”


The Summary Statistics for Schools in Scotland publication is available at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/School-Education/Summarystatsforschools 

The Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Levels publication is available at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/School-Education/ACEL

School level data is available via the same link. It shows reading, writing, listening and talking, and numeracy performance data for individual schools alongside school roll information and the proportion of pupils in the school living in the 20% most deprived areas of Scotland. For primary schools, the results for P1, P4 and P7 pupils are combined into one result for each CfE aspect. Secondary school data shows the proportion of S3 students achieving CfE Third Level or better.

For all schools, the data is expressed in 10% bandings, e.g. 50 to under 60% of pupils achieved the relevant CfE level in writing for their stage. To prevent potential disclosure of information relating to individual pupils within schools, any schools in which the relevant cohort contains 20 or fewer pupils will be suppressed. 


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