Information

Summary Statistics For Schools In Scotland 2021

Headline statistics from the annual pupil and teacher census and early learning and childcare provision conducted in September 2021 and attendance, absence and exclusions for the 2020 to 2021 school year.

This document is part of 2 collections


Chapter 4: Classes and pupils

12.5% of P1-P3 pupils were taught in classes of 18 or fewer compared to 14.0% in 2020.

23.2 Average class size for pupils in primary school – this has increased from 23.1 in 2020.

Table 4.1 shows average class sizes for each stage in primary school alongside the overall primary school average. In 2021 the overall average class size for primary has increased from 23.1 in 2020 to 23.2. The average class size for P1-P3 increased from 22.9 to 23.0 between 2020 and 2021 while the average class size for P4-7 remained the same at 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 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
P1 21.1 21.2 21.0 20.9 21.0 20.8 20.9
P2 24.1 24.0 23.9 23.9 23.9 23.8 23.7
P3 24.8 24.7 24.7 24.6 24.7 24.2 24.4
P4 26.0 26.0 26.0 25.7 25.7 25.3 25.3
P5 26.0 26.1 26.1 26.1 26.0 25.5 25.6
P6 25.8 26.0 26.1 26.0 26.0 25.5 25.6
P7 25.4 25.8 25.9 26.0 25.9 25.6 25.5
P1-P3 23.3 23.3 23.2 23.2 23.2 22.9 23.0
P4-P7 25.8 26.0 26.0 25.9 25.9 25.5 25.5
Primary 23.4 23.5 23.5 23.5 23.5 23.1 23.2

(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 P1-P3 pupils taught in classes of 18 or fewer decreased to 12.5% (20,328 pupils) in 2021 from 14.0% (22,899 pupils) in 2020. Over the same period, the number of pupils taught in classes of 26 or more decreased from 40,064 in 2020 to 39,723. However, decreases in the total primary school roll mean that this represented a slightly higher percentage of pupils – 24.5% in 2021 compared to 24.4% in 2020 (data not shown).

Table 4.2: P1-P3 pupils by class size (1), Headcount
Class Size 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
0 - 18 20,999 21,906 20,997 20,613 20,591 22,899 20,328
19 - 25 104,426 104,517 106,023 104,453 103,326 100,948 102,233
26 - 30 46,489 45,486 44,340 44,362 43,410 39,874 39,626
31 or more 658 807 625 350 224 190 97
% in classes of 18 or fewer or in two teacher classes of 36 or fewer 12.2 12.7 12.2 12.1 12.3 14.0 12.5

(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 2021 the number of P1 pupils in classes of 26 or more was 293; this was an increase from 188 in 2020. In 2021, there were 12 classes with 26 or more pupils and at least one P1 pupil, compared to 7 such classes in 2020 (data not shown).

Table 4.3: P1 pupils by class size, Headcount
Class size 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
0 - 18 11,213 11,737 11,925 11,326 11,393 12,570 11,017
19 - 25 45,307 45,102 44,195 43,254 43,525 40,551 41,724
26 or more 637 698 631 511 267 188 293

Table 4.4 shows that the percentage of P1-P3 pupils in classes of 18 or fewer varied 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 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Aberdeen City 10.6 11.0 13.0 9.9 13.5 12.8 5.7
Aberdeenshire 12.4 14.7 17.7 16.0 20.0 18.6 15.0
Angus 22.4 19.6 16.5 20.1 19.2 17.7 18.2
Argyll and Bute 24.2 27.2 27.1 34.6 28.5 39.1 37.9
City of Edinburgh 6.1 5.7 6.0 5.2 4.5 6.0 5.8
Clackmannanshire 11.8 19.7 14.1 11.8 16.5 13.1 12.9
Dumfries and Galloway 13.6 17.1 22.0 20.2 17.7 16.8 13.9
Dundee City 3.4 2.6 4.4 3.1 5.9 7.1 6.3
East Ayrshire 9.5 11.1 9.9 8.3 12.0 17.0 17.8
East Dunbartonshire 10.6 12.9 10.3 10.5 9.3 10.1 8.1
East Lothian 6.0 4.2 6.5 8.8 6.1 12.2 10.7
East Renfrewshire 9.5 16.5 12.6 11.9 18.3 9.5 13.6
Falkirk 8.5 5.6 7.9 8.8 10.6 15.2 14.1
Fife 20.8 20.8 11.6 7.1 3.7 7.1 4.1
Glasgow City 3.6 4.2 5.5 6.5 8.0 10.9 9.7
Highland 20.5 19.1 18.1 18.8 16.7 21.0 20.5
Inverclyde 7.5 6.5 5.0 6.1 8.0 4.8 7.1
Midlothian 10.3 16.7 11.2 16.2 9.4 11.4 8.3
Moray 10.8 8.0 8.1 9.0 11.0 9.0 15.3
Na h-Eileanan Siar 51.3 57.8 52.3 56.4 60.4 55.3 65.9
North Ayrshire 10.8 13.0 9.9 10.9 16.4 14.6 11.9
North Lanarkshire 8.6 9.8 11.4 8.9 9.4 13.7 13.3
Orkney Islands 22.6 19.8 24.7 24.8 30.6 36.8 31.8
Perth and Kinross 14.3 14.7 11.0 11.8 16.7 17.5 17.9
Renfrewshire 11.9 13.3 14.4 16.1 13.7 15.4 12.2
Scottish Borders 14.3 10.3 14.4 12.5 10.6 13.0 10.8
Shetland Islands 25.5 33.9 32.2 36.2 31.3 46.7 42.1
South Ayrshire 24.6 19.5 20.1 15.4 14.1 19.2 16.2
South Lanarkshire 16.1 15.5 16.8 19.2 18.1 16.9 12.1
Stirling 17.4 14.9 11.3 10.0 13.9 17.0 11.6
West Dunbartonshire 13.6 16.2 14.0 19.2 15.7 16.4 21.8
West Lothian 13.6 16.3 14.7 17.1 13.6 17.1 17.4
Scotland(1) 12.2 12.7 12.2 12.1 12.3 14.0 12.5

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

Table 4.5 shows pupil characteristics used in equalities monitoring. In 2021, 82.6% of pupils were recorded as being White-Scottish or White-Other British. The next largest proportions of ethnic backgrounds were White-Other (3.3%), White-Polish (2.4%), Asian Pakistani (2.1%) and Mixed (1.6%).

The number of pupils recorded with ASN has increased markedly since 2010 and there continue to be year on year increases (see table 1.5 of the supplementary tables). 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.

There were 232,753 pupils (33.0% of all pupils) with an additional support need (ASN) recorded in 2021. This was an increase of 0.7 percentage points on 2020 (226,838 pupils with an ASN record, 32.3% of all pupils). However, this is first time since 2009 that the rate has increased by less than one percentage point.

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

Total Pupils
Female Male Total
345,119 359,604 704,723
Ethnicity
Female Male Total
White - Scottish 263,185 273,819 537,004
White - Other British 21,814 23,028 44,842
White - Irish 731 768 1,499
White - Polish 8,159 8,631 16,790
White - Gypsy/Traveller 682 753 1,435
White - Other 11,368 11,883 23,251
Mixed 5,835 5,698 11,533
Asian - Indian 3,656 3,786 7,442
Asian - Pakistani 7,211 7,560 14,771
Asian - Bangladeshi 681 678 1,359
Asian - Chinese 2,456 2,466 4,922
Asian - Other 2,289 2,378 4,667
Caribbean/Black - Scottish/British 472 458 930
Caribbean/Black - Other 234 265 499
African - Scottish/British 3,307 3,249 6,556
African - Other 1,834 1,905 3,739
Arab 1,954 2,131 4,085
Other 2,154 2,369 4,523
Not known 5,445 5,910 11,355
Not disclosed 1,652 1,869 3,521
English as an Additional Language 23,569 25,872 49,441
Additional Support Needs ( ASN)
Female Male Total
CSP (Co-ordinated Support Plan) 542 878 1,420
IEP (Individualised Education Programme) 10,913 23,197 34,110
Child Plans 17,227 29,855 47,082
Assessed/Declared Disabled 6,213 12,892 19,105
Other(2) 82,244 105,680 187,924
All pupils with ASN(3) 98,486 134,267 232,753
All pupils with ASN (excluding Other type)(3) 27,834 50,181 78,015

(1) Statistics for English as an Additional Language do not include grant-aided special schools as this information is not collected. There were 125 pupils at grant-aided special schools in 2021.

(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.

Contact

Email: school.stats@gov.scot

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