There were 19,090 children attending pre-primary schools in Iceland in December 2016, a decrease of 272 (-1.4%) children from the previous year. This decrease is due to smaller cohorts, as the proportion of children attending pre-primary schools has increased slightly from the previous year.
At the same time, there were 5,907 staff members working in pre-primary schools, 59 fewer (-1.0%) than in 2015, while the number of full-time equivalent staff decreased by 68 (-1.3%).
There were 254 pre-primary schools operating in Iceland in December 2016, three more than in the previous year. A total of 213 schools were operated by the municipalities, four fewer than in the previous year, while 41 schools were run by others, seven more than in 2015. The number of pre-primary schools was greatest in 2009, when there were 282 schools operating.
More than one-half of staff working in education and childcare is unskilled
In December 2016 there were 1,729 licenced pre-primary school teachers in pre-primary schools in Iceland, 31.9% of staff working in education and childcare. Their number has decreased by 231 from 2013, when their number was the greatest. The number of staff with other pedagogical education was 857, e.g. compulsory school teachers, social pedagogues, staff with a diploma in pre-primary education and assistant pre-school teachers. Unskilled staff was more than one-half (52.3%) of staff working in education and childcare in December 2016, proportionally a little higher than in the previous year.
Staff turnover increased from last year
The turnover among personnel working in education and childcare increased from 25.4% in 2015 to 26.5% in 2016, comparing staff on December 1st each year. However, the turnover of staff with pre-primary teachers’ education is lower in 2016 than in 2015, or 12.2% compared with 12.9% in 2015. On the other hand the turnover has increased among staff with other educational training (from 26.3% to 30.9%) and unskilled staff (from 33.6% to 34.0%).
Fewer males work in pre-primary schools
The number of male staff in pre-primary schools increased every year from 2009 to 2014, when they were 6.4% of staff. However, the number of male staff has declined from December 2014, resulting in 338 male staff members in December 2016, 5.7% of all staff.
Fewer children receive special support than in the previous year
In December 2016, 1,857 children received special support because of a handicap or social or emotional difficulties, a total of 9.7% of all pre-school children. The number of children receiving support decreased by 122 (6.2%) from the previous year after a considerable increase from 2013, when 1,200 children received special support. As in previous years boys were more numerous among children receiving support; 1,200 boys and 657 girls received support in 2016.
Fewer children with a foreign mother tongue but more children with foreign citizenship
There were 2,410 children with a foreign mother tongue in December 2016, 25 fewer than in the previous year (-1.0%). The proportion of pre-school children with a foreign mother tongue is the same as in December 2015, 12.6% of pre-school children. The number of children with a foreign mother tongue had increased annually from 2008 to 2015. As in recent years, Polish was the most common foreign language of pre-primary school children, with 933 children speaking Polish in December 2016. The second most common language was English (233 children) followed by Spanish (107 children) and Philippine languages (105 children).
In December 2016, 1,206 children had foreign citizenship, 6.3% of children in pre-primary schools. The number of children with foreign citizenship increased by 41 (3.5%) from the previous year, and has increased year by year since these data were first collected in 2001, with the exception of 2014–2015 when their number decreased by 69.