Never more licensed teachers, 95.9%
The proportion of licensed teachers in compulsory schools has never been higher since Statistics Iceland started its data collection. The proportion of licensed teachers was 80-87% in 1998-2008, 95.5% in the autumn of 2011 and 95.9% in the autumn of 2012. In the autumn of 2012 there were 198 teachers teaching without a teaching licence, which is a big drop since the autumn of 2002 when 931 were teaching in compulsory schools without being licensed.
The proportion of licensed teachers was highest in Reykjavík, where 98.7% of teachers held a teaching licence. Only in the Westfjords (87.0%) and in the East (89.0%) was the proportion of licenced teachers under 90%. The proportion of licensed teachers outside the Capital Region has increased rapidly in recent years, from being under 50% in the last decade of the last century in a few regions.
These figures are derived from the Statistics Iceland data collection from compulsory schools, which is undertaken in October every year.
Staff numbers decrease for the fourth consecutive year
In the autumn of 2012 there were 7,279 staff members working 6,550 full-time equivalent jobs in compulsory schools in Iceland. Thereof 4,784 were teaching staff in 4,534 full-time equivalent jobs. Staff numbers decreased for the fourth consecutive year. The number of teaching staff, i.e. headmasters, assistant headmasters, heads of department and teachers increased by 41 (0.9%) from the previous year, but their full-time equivalents decreased by 25. The number of other staff than teaching staff decreased by 99; 107 full-time equivalent jobs. The number of other staff than teaching staff has decreased by 288 (10.4%) from the autumn of 2008 and their full-time equivalents have decreased by 301 (13.0%).
In the autumn of 2011 males were 19.9% of teaching staff. This was the first time that their share of the teaching staff was lower than 20%. This development continued and in the autumn of 2012 males were 19.3% of teaching staff.
Never fewer pupils in compulsory schools since 1997
In autumn 2012 there were 42,320 pupils in compulsory education in Iceland, and their number has not been smaller since 1997. The number of pupils decreased by 45 since the previous school year (0.1%). The number of pupils in compulsory education in Iceland was greatest in autumn 2003, a total of 44,809. In addition there were 184 pupils attending the 5 year old grade in compulsory schools. This is the highest number of pupils in the 5 year old grade since the start of the data collection by Statistics Iceland in 1997.
In the autumn of 2012 there were 168 compulsory schools in Iceland, a decrease by three from the previous school year due to school mergers.
18.9 pupils in an average class
The smallest classes in the autumn of 2012 were found in grades 1-4, with an average of 18.0 pupils. The average number of pupils in grades 5-7 was 19.2, and in grades 8-10 the average class had 19.8 pupils. When examining data since the year 2002 the average class was largest in the autumn of 2011 with 19.1 pupils. Classes were slightly smaller in 2012, when the average class had 18.9 pupils. Pupils in special education schools and classes are excluded.
The number of pupils with foreign citizenship and foreign mother tongue continues to increase
Since the autumn of 2006 the number of foreign pupils increased by 464. In the autumn of 2012 there were 1,444 foreign pupils in Icelandic compulsory schools. In 2006 these pupils were 2.2% of all pupils in compulsory schools, but in the autumn of 2012 they were as many as 3.4% of all pupils. The most numerous were pupils with Polish (734) and Lithuanian (129) citizenship.
The number of pupils with a foreign mother tongue increased by 246 from the autumn of 2011 and in the autumn of 2012 6.3% of all pupils in Icelandic compulsory schools had a foreign mother tongue. The most numerous were Polish speaking pupils (850), pupils speaking Philippine languages (253), English (204), Thai (151) and Lithuanian (126).
Pre-primary schools, compulsory schools and music schools operating as one institution
Since laws on pre-primary schools and compulsory schools were passed in 2008 it has become more common to operate pre-primary schools, compulsory schools and even music schools together under the management of one headmaster. In the autumn of 2012 this was the case for almost 30 institutions. This mode of operation is more common in small communities in the countryside but there are examples found in larger communities as well.