The number of children increased by 456 from December 2011, or by 2.4%. Around 83% of 1-5 year old children attended pre-primary education, the highest proportion ever.
The daily attendance of children increases
The children’s daily attendance has been changing in that the proportion of children staying in school for 7 hours or longer per day increased from the previous year. In December 2012 almost 92% of children in pre-primary schools attended school for 7 hours or more daily compared to almost 44% in 1998.
The number of children of foreign origin continues to increase
In December 2012 a total of 2,062 children had a foreign mother tongue (10.5% of pre-school children), more than ever before. Their number increased by 8.1% from December 2011. Of these children 783 speak Polish, the most common foreign language of pre-primary school children as in recent years. The number of children with Polish as a mother tongue increased by 125 from the previous year (19.0%). At the same time the number of children speaking Lithuanian increased by 18 (21.2%), while the number of children speaking English decreased by 13 (8.4%).
In December 2012 there were 1,031 children with a foreign citizenship attending pre-primary schools (5.3% of pre-school children), an increase of 19.5% from the previous year. This increase is mostly due to the increasing number of children from Eastern Europe (136) and the Baltic countries (21). Since 2008 the number of children with a foreign citizenship has increased by 450 (77.5%).
Fewer children receive special support
In December 2012, 1,124 children received special support because of a handicap or social or emotional difficulties, a total of 5.7% of all pre-school children. This is a decline of 108 children from the previous year, when 6.4% of children received special support.
Personnel in pre-primary schools better educated
In December 2012 there were 5,668 staff members in pre-primary schools in Iceland working 4,947 full-time equivalent jobs. Compared to the previous year the number of staff increased by 2.8%, while the number of full-time equivalent jobs increased by 3.1%. Since Statistics Iceland started to publish data on pre-primary education in 1998 the number of licensed pre-school teachers has increased from 926 to 1,878 (102.8%); from 29.1% of educational personnel in 1998 to 36.3% in 2012. At the same the number of staff who have completed other pedagogical education has increased greatly, such as social pedagogues, staff with a tertiary diploma in pre-primary education, assistants in pre-primary schools, compulsory school teachers and staff with other tertiary education with an emphasis on pedagogy. The number of staff members with other pedagogical education than pre-primary teaching increased from 165 in 1998 to 921 in 2012.
The number of male staff continues to increase
From December 2010 to December 2012 the number of males working in pre-primary schools increased by 103 (40.7%), while the number of females increased by 77 (1.5%). The increase among male staff is most pronounced within the field of educational personnel.
Fewer pre-primary schools and more schools operating with compulsory schools as one institution
There were 262 pre-primary schools operating in December 2012, three fewer than in the previous year. Since laws on pre-primary schools and compulsory schools were passed in 2008 it is more common to operate pre-primary schools, compulsory schools and even music schools together under the management of one headmaster. In December 2012 this was the case for approximately 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.
Source: Statistics Iceland