The average age of teaching personnel has been increasing since the year 2000. In the autumn of 2000 the average age of teaching personnel was 42.2 years, rising to 46.8 years in the autumn of 2016. During these years the average age of female teachers increased more rapidly, from 41.8 years in 2000 to 46.9 years in 2016. The average age of male teachers increased from 43.6 years to 46.3 years during the same period. The average age of teachers without a teaching licence has been lower than the age of licensed teachers during this time. In the autumn of 2016 the average age of licensed teachers was 47.3 while the average age of teachers without a teaching licence was 38.8 years.
The figure below depicts the age composition of teaching staff. The decline in the proportion of teaching staff under the age of 30 can be clearly seen, while the proportion of teachers 50 years and older has increased from 23.7% in the autumn of 1998 to 41.3% in the autumn of 2016. At the same time the proportion of teachers who are 60 years and older increased from 5.7% to 14.2% of all teaching staff.
Teachers without a licence were 5.6% of teaching staff in the autumn of 2016
The proportion of teachers without a teaching licence in compulsory schools was 13-20% in 1998-2008. The proportion dropped after the financial crisis in all parts of the country, and was lowest in the autumn of 2012 at 4.1%. Since 2012 the proportion of teachers without a licence has increased year by year and was 5.6% in the autumn of 2016. At that time there were 272 teachers teaching without a teaching licence, an increase of 11 from the autumn of 2015.
Considerable increase in the number of staff supporting pupils since 1998
In the autumn of 2016 there were 7,907 staff members in compulsory schools in Iceland, 254 more than in the autumn of 2015 (3.3% increase).
When looking back to 1998, when Statistics Iceland’s data collection on compulsory schools started, we see a considerable increase in the number of staff supporting pupils. The greatest increase is in the number of social pedagogues, 559%, from 29 to 191 in the autumn of 2016. The number of assisting staff increased by 307%, from 247 to 1,006. The number of special education teachers and psychiatrists/student counsellors has more than doubled during the same period. When all personnel is considered there were 29.8% more staff members in compulsory schools in the autumn of 2016 than in 1998.
The number of pupils with a foreign mother tongue continues to increase
The number of pupils with a foreign mother tongue has increased year by year since Statistics Iceland started collecting these data. In the autumn of 2016, 4,148 pupils in Icelandic compulsory schools had a foreign mother tongue, or 9.3%, an increase of 1.2 percentage points from the previous year. Some of these pupils also speak Icelandic as their mother tongue. The most numerous pupils with a foreign mother tongue were Polish speaking pupils (1,467), pupils speaking Philippine languages (331), English (256) and Thai (223).
When looking closer at languages spoken by at least 50 pupils, it can be seen that the number of pupils speaking Romanian increased by two-thirds (66.7%) from the previous year, the number of pupils speaking Arabic increased by almost 40% (39.7%) and Spanish by more than 36% (36.4%). There was an increase of more than one-third in pupils speaking various African languages (34.9%) and just under one-third (31.9%) in pupils speaking German as their mother tongue.
The number of pupils with foreign citizenship increased by 14.0% from 2015 and was 2,046 in the autumn of 2016.
The number of pupils in compulsory schools continues to increase
In the autumn of 2016 there were 44,527 pupils in compulsory education in Iceland. The number of pupils increased by 767 (1.8%) from the previous year and has not been greater since the autumn of 2003. In addition there were 82 pupils attending the 5 year old grade in compulsory schools, 12 fewer than in the previous year. The number of pupils in the 5 year old grade has decreased from 184 in the autumn of 2012, or by more than one-half in four years.
There were 170 compulsory schools operating in Iceland in the autumn of 2016, two more than in the previous year. There were 13 private schools operating with 1,109 pupils (5 year old grade excluded). There were three special education schools operating with 164 pupils in attendance, a slight increase from the previous year.