There were 8,300 fewer pupils in Scottish schools in September than a year ago, and primary school rolls accounted for 7,700 of the fall.
The provisional findings from the annual school survey show a projected decrease of 14 per cent in the number of primary pupils by 2014, and a 16 per cent drop in the number of secondary pupils.
In primary, the fall in numbers ranged from 1.9 per cent in West Lothian to 11.8 per cent in Argyll and Bute. In secondary, there was a pupil increase of 4.2 per cent in Falkirk against a decrease of 6.2 per cent in Dundee.
The latest figures will make it easier for ministers to meet their pledge of extra teachers.