Publication - Statistics

Schools in Scotland - summary statistics: 2020

Headline statistics from the annual pupil and school staff censuses and early learning and childcare provision.

Contents
Schools in Scotland - summary statistics: 2020
Chapter 4: Classes and pupils

Chapter 4: Classes and pupils

Table 4.1 shows average class sizes for each stage in primary school alongside the overall primary school average. In 2020 the overall average for primary has decreased from 23.5 in 2019 to 23.1. This is the smallest average class size since 2012 when the average was 22.7 (statistics pre-2014 are available from the supplementary statistics). The average class size for P1-P3 decreased from 23.2 to 22.9 between 2019 and 2020 while the average class size for P4-7 decreased from 25.9 to 25.5. Statistics on class sizes in the secondary sector are not collected as class size varies widely across subjects.

Table 4.1: Average class size of primary school pupils (1)
Headcount
Stage 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
P1 21.2 21.1 21.2 21.0 20.9 21.0 20.8
P2 23.9 24.1 24.0 23.9 23.9 23.9 23.8
P3 24.7 24.8 24.7 24.7 24.6 24.7 24.2
P4 25.9 26.0 26.0 26.0 25.7 25.7 25.3
P5 25.8 26.0 26.1 26.1 26.1 26.0 25.5
P6 25.5 25.8 26.0 26.1 26.0 26.0 25.5
P7 25.4 25.4 25.8 25.9 26.0 25.9 25.6
P1-P3 23.3 23.3 23.3 23.2 23.2 23.2 22.9
P4-P7 25.7 25.8 26.0 26.0 25.9 25.9 25.5
Primary 23.3 23.4 23.5 23.5 23.5 23.5 23.1

(1) Data refers to the average class size of pupils in each stage, not the average class size of single stage classes. The total primary average class size is calculated on a different basis to all the other class sizes shown, see background notes for details.

Table 4.2 shows that the percentage of pupils taught in classes of 18 or fewer increased to 14.0% (22,899 pupils) in 2020 from 12.3% (20,591 pupils) in 2019. Over the same period, the number of pupils taught in classes of 26 or more decreased from 43,634 (26.0%) in 2019 to 40,064 (24.4%).

Table 4.2: P1-P3 pupils by class size (1)
Headcount
Class Size 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
0 - 18 22,138 20,999 21,906 20,997 20,613 20,591 22,899
19 - 25 103,968 104,426 104,517 106,023 104,453 103,326 100,948
26 - 30 45,539 46,489 45,486 44,340 44,362 43,410 39,874
31 or more 470 658 807 625 350 224 190
% in classes of 18 or fewer or in two teacher classes of 36 or fewer 12.9 12.2 12.7 12.2 12.1 12.3 14.0

(1) The percentage of P1-P3 pupils in classes of 18 or fewer includes two-teacher classes with 36 or fewer. Classes taught by two teachers at all times are treated as two classes of half the size.

Legislation limits class sizes to 25 for P1 pupils and to 30 for P2 and P3 (see background notes for more information). 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 pupils’ (see background note). In 2020 the number of P1 pupils in classes of 26 or more was 188; this was a reduction from 267 in 2019. In 2020, there were 7 classes with 26 or more pupils and at least one P1 pupil, compared to 11 such classes in 2019 (data not shown).

Table 4.3: P1 pupils by class size
Headcount
Class size 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
0 - 18 11,558 11,213 11,737 11,925 11,326 11,393 12,570
19 - 25 45,544 45,307 45,102 44,195 43,254 43,525 40,551
26 or more 451 637 698 631 511 267 188

Table 4.4 shows that the percentage of P1-P3 pupils in classes of 18 or fewer varies considerably between local authorities and years. One of the main reasons for this was the differing number of small schools between local authorities.

Table 4.4: P1-P3 pupils in classes of size 18 or fewer or in two teacher classes with a pupil teacher ratio of 18 or fewer

Percentage Headcount
Local Authority 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Aberdeen City 11.2 10.6 11.0 13.0 9.9 13.5 12.8
Aberdeenshire 13.3 12.4 14.7 17.7 16.0 20.0 18.6
Angus 23.1 22.4 19.6 16.5 20.1 19.2 17.7
Argyll and Bute 34.9 24.2 27.2 27.1 34.6 28.5 39.1
City of Edinburgh 7.2 6.1 5.7 6.0 5.2 4.5 6.0
Clackmannanshire 17.8 11.8 19.7 14.1 11.8 16.5 13.1
Dumfries and Galloway 16.4 13.6 17.1 22.0 20.2 17.7 16.8
Dundee City 2.8 3.4 2.6 4.4 3.1 5.9 7.1
East Ayrshire 13.0 9.5 11.1 9.9 8.3 12.0 17.0
East Dunbartonshire 11.3 10.6 12.9 10.3 10.5 9.3 10.1
East Lothian 6.3 6.0 4.2 6.5 8.8 6.1 12.2
East Renfrewshire 15.7 9.5 16.5 12.6 11.9 18.3 9.5
Falkirk 6.3 8.5 5.6 7.9 8.8 10.6 15.2
Fife 22.9 20.8 20.8 11.6 7.1 3.7 7.1
Glasgow City 3.7 3.6 4.2 5.5 6.5 8.0 10.9
Highland 18.1 20.5 19.1 18.1 18.8 16.7 21.0
Inverclyde 10.0 7.5 6.5 5.0 6.1 8.0 4.8
Midlothian 11.7 10.3 16.7 11.2 16.2 9.4 11.4
Moray 14.1 10.8 8.0 8.1 9.0 11.0 9.0
Na h-Eileanan Siar 48.0 51.3 57.8 52.3 56.4 60.4 55.3
North Ayrshire 7.6 10.8 13.0 9.9 10.9 16.4 14.6
North Lanarkshire 7.7 8.6 9.8 11.4 8.9 9.4 13.7
Orkney Islands 29.6 22.6 19.8 24.7 24.8 30.6 36.8
Perth and Kinross 15.1 14.3 14.7 11.0 11.8 16.7 17.5
Renfrewshire 10.8 11.9 13.3 14.4 16.1 13.7 15.4
Scottish Borders 12.7 14.3 10.3 14.4 12.5 10.6 13.0
Shetland Islands 31.2 25.5 33.9 32.2 36.2 31.3 46.7
South Ayrshire 17.8 24.6 19.5 20.1 15.4 14.1 19.2
South Lanarkshire 17.7 16.1 15.5 16.8 19.2 18.1 16.9
Stirling 15.2 17.4 14.9 11.3 10.0 13.9 17.0
West Dunbartonshire 13.3 13.6 16.2 14.0 19.2 15.7 16.4
West Lothian 17.0 13.6 16.3 14.7 17.1 13.6 17.1
Scotland(1) 12.9 12.2 12.7 12.2 12.1 12.3 14.0

(1) The statistics for Scotland include one grant-aided mainstream school.

Table 4.5 shows pupil characteristics used in equalities monitoring. In 2020, 83.3% of pupils were recorded as being White-Scottish or White-other British. The next largest proportions of ethnic backgrounds were White-Other (3.2%), White-Polish (2.3%), Asian Pakistani (2.1%) and mixed (1.5%).

There were 226,838 pupils (32.3% of all pupils) with an additional support need (ASN) recorded. This was an increase of 1.4 percentage points on 2019 (215,897 pupils with an ASN record, 30.9% of all pupils). The number of pupils identified with ASN has increased markedly since 2010 and there continue to be year on year increases. These increases were likely due in part to continued improvements in recording and the introduction of the additional need types 'Child plans' and ‘Other’ in 2011.

Statistics on additional support needs include pupils in special schools and those in mainstream schools who are assessed or declared disabled or have a Co-ordinated Support Plan (CSP), Individualised Education Programme (IEP), Child Plan or another type of support. Pupils may have more than one type of ASN, therefore the totals for ASN do not equal the sum of individual types of ASN.

Table 4.5: Pupil characteristics (1)
Headcount
Female Male Total
Total Pupils 344,469 357,728 702,197
Ethnicity
White - Scottish 265,979 275,900 541,879
White - Other British 21,070 22,267 43,337
White - Irish 730 774 1,504
White - Polish 7,972 8,360 16,332
White - Gypsy/Traveller 689 743 1,432
White - Other 11,098 11,454 22,552
Mixed 5,443 5,283 10,726
Asian - Indian 3,402 3,535 6,937
Asian - Pakistani 7,080 7,316 14,396
Asian - Bangladeshi 635 646 1,281
Asian - Chinese 2,218 2,227 4,445
Asian - Other 2,114 2,186 4,300
Caribbean/Black - Scottish/British 465 439 904
Caribbean/Black - Other 204 239 443
African - Scottish/British 3,095 3,053 6,148
African - Other 1,540 1,584 3,124
Arab 1,731 1,996 3,727
Other 2,032 2,210 4,242
Not known 5,290 5,635 10,925
Not disclosed 1,682 1,881 3,563
English as an Additional Language 22,907 25,031 47,938
Additional Support Needs (ASN)
CSP (Co-ordinated Support Plan) 585 949 1,534
IEP (Individualised Education Programme) 10,954 23,524 34,478
Child Plans 16,688 28,989 45,677
Assessed/Declared Disabled 6,052 12,800 18,852
Other(2) 79,244 102,825 182,069
All pupils with ASN(3) 95,359 131,479 226,838
All pupils with ASN (excluding Other type)(3) 27,293 49,711 77,004

(1) Statistics for English as an Additional Language do not include grant-aided special schools as this information is not collected. There were 117 pupils at grant-aided special schools in 2020.

(2) See the background notes for further information on what the other category includes.

(3) Pupils may have more than one type of ASN, therefore the totals for ASN may not equal the sum of individual types of ASN.

95% of eligible three and four year olds were registered for funded ELC (98% in 2019)

9% of two year olds were registered for funded ELC (11% in 2019)


Contact

Email: school.stats@gov.scot