Pupils in Scotland, 2008



1. Introduction

1.1 This document contains information on pupils in publicly funded schools in Scotland, mainly derived from the latest annual pupil census which took place in September 2008. It describe the education system by providing information on the numbers of schools and pupils, the types and sizes of schools and classes they learn in, and some characteristics of the pupils.

1.2 Tables in this publication are grouped into chapters, firstly at a national level into all sector summary figures ( tables 1.1-1.15), then into primary ( tables 2.1-2.21), secondary ( tables 3.1-3.10) and special ( tables 4.1-4.9). Then local authority figures are similarly grouped ( tables 5.1-5.10, 6.1-6.16, 7.1-7.13, 8.1-8.12). At the bottom of each table a note will direct you to the equivalent national or local authority table. A map of local authorities is given on page 93 and an index is also provided at the back of the publication.

2. Main Statistics

2.1 In September 2008 there were, in total, 681,573 pupils in 2,722 publicly funded schools in Scotland. Pupil numbers have fallen by 1.5% since 2007.

2.2 There were 370,839 pupils in 2,153 primary schools, 303,978 pupils in 376 secondary schools and 6,756 pupils in 193 special schools ( table 1.1). The proportion of pupils in specials schools continues to be about one per cent, with about 1.3% of pupils spending all or most of their time in special schools or classes.

2.3 The average number of pupils in a primary school was 172, a figure which has fallen each year since peaking in 1997 at 192. About 35 per cent of primaries had fewer than 100 pupils. The average number of pupils in a secondary school was 808, the lowest since 1998. About a third of secondaries had over 1,000 pupils ( table 1.2)

2.4 There were 38,716 pupils who were either based in a special school or had Additional Support Needs in primary or secondary schools ( table 1.6). In mainstream schools there were 31,960 pupils (4.7 per cent of all mainstream pupils) with a Coordinated Support Plan ( CSP), an Individualised Educational Programme ( IEP) and/or with provision levels set by a Record of Needs (RoN) pre-dating the implementation of the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004. This compares to 29,833 pupils in 2007, a seven per cent increase. Eighty-six per cent of these pupils spent all of their time in mainstream classes ( table 1.5).

2.5 All pupils who had a RoN prior to the Act were to be re-assessed by November 2007. Where they do not require a CSP, their level of provision may continue as that of their previous RoN. While there were 7,439 pupils with their RoN provision in 2007 there were still 5,250 pupils in September 2008. The number of pupils with CSPs had risen from 1,881 in 2007 to 2,694 in 2008. ( table 1.6).

2.6 Of those pupils with Additional Support Needs, the most prevalent categories of reason for support are learning disabilities (13.2 pupils per 1,000) and social emotional and behavioural difficulties (12.0 pupils per 1,000).

2.7 Overall, 70 per cent of pupils with additional support needs were boys, the same proportion as in recent years ( table 1.8).

2.8 Of those pupils whose ethnic background was declared (in 98% of cases), 93.1 per cent were White- UK (down from 93.7 per cent). The largest other groupings were White-other (2.2 per cent, up from 1.9 per cent), Asian-Pakistani (1.5 per cent, up from 1.4 per cent) and Mixed (0.9 per cent, unchanged). ( table 1.11)

2.9 The average class size in primary schools was 23.2 pupils, down from 23.3 in 2007. P1 classes had the smallest average size of single stage classes at 21.1 pupils, unchanged from 2007 ( table 2.11). The proportion of pupils in composite classes increased from 26.0 per cent in 2007 to 26.9 per cent ( table 2.12).

2.10 The percentage of P1-P3 pupils who were in class sizes of 18 or less rose from 12.3 in 2007 to 13.2 in 2008 ( table 2.21). If classes with two teachers are also counted, the increase is from 15.3 per cent to 15.6 per cent. In P1 six per cent of pupils were in class sizes of more than 25, up from five per cent in 2007 ( table 2.14).

2.11 There were 2,766 pupils receiving Gaelic medium education, up from 2,601 in 2007. A further 1,330 were taught Gaelic through the medium of Gaelic, up from 1,096 in 2007.

2.12 There were 12,391 pupils assessed or declared as disabled ( table 1.10). There are wide variations in the extent to which pupils with disabilities had been identified in different local authorities and the information should not be considered as complete.

2.13 There were 147 different languages reported as the main home language. The most common after English was Polish, which moved above Punjabi and Urdu for the first time. These were followed by Cantonese, Arabic, French and Gaelic ( table 1.15). Polish was the most common main home language after English in 19 authorities, with Punjabi in seven authorities ( table 5.8).

2.14 There were 19,001 pupils identified as having English as an additional language and who were not fluent in English (an increase of 3,590). There were 4,021 who were considered "New to English". This is an increase of 426 from the 2007 figure. ( table 5.9)