There have never been as many pupils in compulsory education in Iceland as in the autumn of 2020, or 46,688. The number of pupils increased by 434 from the previous year, or by 0.9%. The main explanation is that more children aged 6-15 are living in Iceland than before. These data come from annual data on compulsory schools in October.
The number of pupils with a foreign mother tongue never higher
The number of pupils with a foreign mother tongue has increased year by year. In the autumn of 2020, 5,611 pupils in Icelandic compulsory schools had a foreign mother tongue, or 12% of pupils, an increase of 268 pupils from the previous year. Some of these pupils also speak Icelandic as their mother tongue. By far the most common foreign mother tongue is Polish, spoken by more than 1,900 pupils. Almost 400 children speak English and more than 350 speak Philippine languages. In the last grade of compulsory education, grade 10, there are 523 pupils with a foreign mother tongue, 81 more than in the previous year. Judging from past experience, most of these pupils will start upper secondary education in the autumn of 2021.
The number of pupils with foreign citizenship also increased from the previous year and was 3,178 in the autumn of 2020.
173 operating compulsory schools
There are 173 compulsory schools operating in Iceland in the 2020-2021 school year, three more than in the previous year. The reason for this increase is that in the autumn of 2020 the merger of two schools in Hafnarfjörður and the mergers of schools in two neighbourhoods in Reykjavík were reversed; in the Háaleiti area and in Grafarvogur. There are 13 private schools operating, the same number as last year, with more than 1,300 pupils, 140 more than in the previous year. Three special education schools are operating with 174 pupils in attendance.