Teacher numbers rise

Primary pupil achievements improve.

Primary school teacher numbers are at their highest level since 1980 and total teacher numbers have risen by 288, new statistics have shown.

The overall number of teachers rose to 52,247, an increase of 1,530 since 2015 and the highest level since 2009.

Separate figures show the proportion of primary pupils assessed as achieving the expected levels in listening and talking, reading, writing, and numeracy has continued to improve.           

Performance among S3 pupils has remained stable, with almost nine out of 10 achieving the expected levels in listening and talking, reading, writing and numeracy.

Speaking at St Peter's primary school in Edinburgh, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“These latest statistics demonstrate that our reforms are working and education in Scotland is moving in the right direction.

“I am delighted to see teacher numbers continuing to increase, with levels at their highest in a decade and the number of primary teachers being the highest since 1980.

“Since 2006 there are now fewer P1-P3 pupils in large classes of 31 or more, which is particularly important as helping children in the early years is crucial if we are to close the attainment gap between the most and least deprived.

“I am pleased to see we are making progress on equity, with attainment among the most disadvantaged children and young people improving in both literacy and numeracy at all stages of primary education. 

“We are consistently seeing steady, incremental gains in attainment across the broad general education. This is welcome progress but we know there is more to do and achieving equity and excellence is a long-term task.”


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

Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Levels contains achievement data based on all pupils in publicly funded Primary 1, Primary 4, Primary 7 and Secondary 3 classes and for all pupils based in special schools/units.

The 2020 National Improvement Framework (NIF) and Improvement Plan and NIF Interactive Evidence Report are also published today.


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