Pre-primary schools

0. Registration entry for subjects

0.1 Name

Pre-primary schools

0.2 Subject area


0.3 Responsible authority; office, division, person etc.

Department: Education and culture
Contact: Haukur Pálsson
Tel: 528-1042

0.4 Purpose and history

Statistics Iceland has collected data from all pre-primary schools in Iceland since 1997. The data collection includes information on children, staff and school operation. The purpose of this collection is to give an overview of this first educational level and register changes and trends. Also to compare the Icelandic pre-primary schools internationally. Statistics Iceland started this collection as a result of an agreement between Statistics Iceland and the Ministry of Education from 1997 on collecting statistics on education. Before 1997 the Ministry of Education collected data on pre-primary schools.

0.5 Users and application

Users: Ministries, municipalities, private and public organisations, specialists, pre-schools and the public. Used for analysis and planning in public and private organisations, scientific investigations and public debates. Data are used in schools for research and development. Data are also provided to international institutions

0.6 Sources

In January each year data are collected from every pre-primary school in Iceland regarding information from December the previous year. Information on new pre-primary schools is given by the Ministry of Education, The Association of Local Authorities in Iceland and others.

0.7 Legal basis for official statistics

Act on Statistics Iceland, no. 163/2007. Act on Pre-Primary Schools no. 90/2008 and regulation no. 225/1995, as well as the agreement between Statistics Iceland and the Ministry of Education on collecting educational statistics from 1997.

0.8 Response burden

According to law, all municipalities are supposed to provide the Ministry of Education with data concerning pre-primary schools annually. Since the agreement from 1997 Statistics Iceland has collected and processed these data. Data are mostly collected via the internet

0.9 EEA and EU obligations

The data collection is in accordance with the European standards and in collaboration with Eurostat. Data are provided to international organizations.

1. Contents

1.1 Description of content

Data collections include the following information:

Pre-primary institution: name, address, operator and private or public classification, opening hours per day and days of operation per year.

Pupils: number, year of birth, gender and daily attendance.

Number of pupils in a special educational programme by gender and year of birth.

Number of pupils with a mother tongue other than Icelandic by year of birth, gender and mother tongue.

Number of foreign pupils by gender and citizenship.

Since 2008 data are collected on an individual level, i.e.ID-number, daily attendance, special programme and mother tongue. Information on gender, domicile and citizenship comes from the National Population Register in December each year.

Personnel in pre-primary schools by ID-number, date of birth, gender, region, occupation, education, licence and full-time equivalents.

1.2 Statistical concepts

Pre-primary school: A school is an institution with its own headmaster. A pre-primary school can be in one or more buildings, and have different locations, normally though within the same municipality. One or more municipalities can operate the same pre-primary school together. According to law, the headmaster must be a licenced pre-primary teacher.

Pupil: A child registered at pre-primary school on the reference date, December 1st each year.

Mother tongue: The language the child learns first, speaks mostly and is spoken at home, sometimes only by one parent.

Personnel: All persons working at the school under the supervision of the headmaster. Excluded are contractors working e.g. as cleaning personnel and canteen workers. Employees who have temporary leave of absence are included.

Occupation: All personnel are categorised into 9 occupational groups according to the ISCO-88 classification.

Education: Each person is classified according to ISCED97 by the highest level of education attained.

Licensed personnel: Personnel working in education and child-care are categorised as licensed teachers, unlicensed teachers or as having other pedagogic education.

Full-time equivalent personnel: If an employee is not working in a full-time job, he or she is registered as a percentage of one full-time equivalent. Normally a person is working as one full-time equivalent. A person can have two different occupations in the same pre-primary school, or work in two different schools, e.g. as a canteen worker and a cleaning person. That person is registered by the main occupation. Until the year 2000 the highest possible full-time equivalent was 1.0. Since then a person can be registered as having more than on full-time equivalent job.

Computed child equivalents (CCE) are used to estimate the need for staff at pre-primary schools. According to regulation there should be 8 CCE for each staff member working in education and child-care, not including headmasters and staff working as support personnel for individual children. It is computed based on the child's age and length of stay. A 5 year old child that stays at school for the whole day is counted as 0.8 CCE, a 4 year old as 1.0 CCE, a 3 year old as 1.3 CCE, a 2 year old as 1.6 CCE and a child younger than 2 years old as 2.0 CCE.

Equivalents of full-time children: A method for calculating full-time child equivalents, since some children stay in pre-primary school for less than a full-day. A child that is 4 hours per day in pre-primary school is 4/8 or 0.5 full-time equivalents (FTE). A child that stays for 5 hours per day is 5/8 or 0.625 FTE, and a child staying in pre-primary school for 6 hours is 6/8 or 0.75 FTE. A child staying 7 hours or more is registered as one full-time equivalent.

Full-time equivalent children: Internationally, starting with data from the year 2003-2004 one full-time equivalent child means that a child stays for 4.5 hours or more in pre-primary school per day, which is 75% of the first grade compulsory attendance. This definition is according to instructions from the international organizations. Before that time one full-time equivalent child was considered as a child spending 6 hours per day in pre-primary school.

2. Time

2.1 Reference periods

The pre-primary school register covers data since 1997. The period is prolonged annually by one year. A request for data is sent out to pre-primary schools in January each year with December 1st as a reference date. Data on the number of days that the schools are open refer to the whole year.

2.2 Process time

Processing time is four months from the reference date.

2.3 Punctuality

Statistics are usually published without delay in relation to advance release calendar. December data are usually published in April the following year

2.4 Frequency of releases

Statistics are published annually on the Statistics Iceland website.

3. Reliability and security

3.1 Accuracy and reliability

In recent years, every pre-primary school has handed in data.

3.2 Sources of errors

Inaccuracy is generally small. The inaccuracy is mainly due to misspellings and/or pre-primary institutions giving wrong information because they misunderstand the questions. An employee working in two different jobs at the same school will only be registered in his or her main occupation. Until the year 2000 personnel in pre-primary schools who worked more than one full-time equivalent job, were registered as having one full-time equivalent job. Time series are investigated to find unexplainable shifts in data. Statistics Iceland also links data on pre-primary schools to other data, such as the National Register of the Population, to check data on personnel.

3.3 Measures on confidence limits/accuracy

Not relevant.

4. Comparison

4.1 Comparison between periods

Since 1997 Statistics Iceland has collected data on the pre-primary level. Before that time data were collected by the Ministry of Education. Data on e.g. personnel are more detailed now than in 1997. Until the year 2000 personnel in pre-primary schools who worked more than one full-time equivalent job, were registered as having one full-time equivalent job. In 2000 a question on the citizenship of children was added. No other fundamental changes have been made since 1997.

4.2 Comparison with other statistics

Data are compared to other data such as the National Register of the Population and the Register of examinations. According to international definitions there is no formal education before age 3. Since 2003-2004 the school day is defined so that 6 hours per day are considered to be education and the remaining hours of the school day are defined as child-care .In Iceland personnel in pre-primary institutions working in education and child-care are categorized as pre-school teachers, other educational staff and unskilled personnel in education and child-care. In some countries only personnel in pre-primary schools with educational training are counted. Therefore a comparison of the number of children per staff member between countries can be misleading.

4.3 Coherence between preliminary and final statistics

Not relevant as no preliminary data are published.

5. Access to information

5.1 Forms of dissemination

1. Data are published on the Statistics Iceland website on certain dates, see the advance release calendar.

2. Data are published in the Statistical Yearbook of Iceland, published in autumn every year.

3. A booklet from 1999: "Leikskólar 1997".

4. In April 2004, Statistical series; Staff in pre-primary schools in December 2003.

5. In April 2005, Statistical series; Children in pre-primary schools in December 2004.

6. In September 2006, Statistical series; Teachers in pre-primary, compulsory and upper secondary schools 2000-2005.

7. Information about pre-primary schools in Iceland can also been seen internationally e.g. in the following publications; Key data on Education in Europe (Eurydice), Education at a Glance (OECD) and Global Education Digest (UNESCO).

5.2 Basic data; storage and usability

Data are saved at Statistics Iceland. Data on individuals are considered as confidential. It is not possible to get direct access to the data but it's possible to ask for special queries for research purposes. Scientists can apply for data when dealing with research questions if they fulfil certain conditions

5.3 Reports

The Statistical Yearbook of Iceland,
The Statistical Series-Education,
Leikskólar 1997,
and the website:

5.4 Other information

Please contact the person in charge

© Hagstofa �slands, �ann 5-5-2009