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1368.1 - New South Wales Regional Statistics, 2007  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/12/2007   
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NSW DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING, GOVERNMENT SCHOOL CENSUS

INTRODUCTION

1 The Government School Census Collections are administered by the NSW Department of Education and Training (DET). The collections consist of the Term One School Census and Mid Year School Census, which are censuses of all students in government schools in NSW.

2 DET conducts the censuses for planning, reporting and resource allocation purposes.

3 There are no legislative requirements to conduct the censuses. However, DET is required to report the Mid Year Census results to the Australian Bureau of Statistics for the National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC).

4 The censuses collect information on the demographic characteristics of government school students in NSW. Demographic characteristics such as age and sex are collected in both censuses. Data on language spoken at home is only collected in the Term One Census and data on Indigenous status is only collected in the Mid Year Census.

5 In this product, information is presented from the Mid Year Census on NSW public school enrolments by sex, grade, and Indigenous status.

SCOPE

6 The scope of the Mid Year Census includes all students enrolled in government schools in NSW on the day of the Mid Year Census. Enrolled students include students that are full-time, and full time equivalent (FTE).

REFERENCE PERIOD

7 The data relate to students enrolled at the time of the Mid Year Census, conducted on the first Friday in August, in the third term of each school year. The data presented are for the calendar year 2006.

KEY DATA ITEMS

8 The following key data items are used in this product.

9 Full time equivalent (FTE): A full time load has a value of one. Students on less than a full time load are expressed as a fraction of the minimum full time load. In the period from 2001 to 2006 a minimum workload for a full time year 11 or year 12 in NSW government schools was 10 units of study.

10 Indigenous status: Indigenous status is identified by the enrolment records of the students. Enrolment forms are completed by a parent or guardian. Provision of data is voluntary. An Indigenous student is a student of Aboriginal and/ or Torres Strait Islander origin. Historically, the way in which Indigenous status has been determined varies across states and territories. The accuracy of Indigenous numbers depends upon honest and rigorous reporting on enrolment forms and the perception (by students/parents/guardians) that such reporting does not disadvantage the student or family in any way.

11 Primary Education: Primary education typically commences at around age 5 and usually lasts for 7 years. It does not include sessional education such as preschool education. In NSW primary education extends from Kindergarten to Year 6.

12 Schools for Specific Purposes: Schools for specific purposes (SSPs) are for students with specific needs. Students in SSPs are not assigned to a year of schooling but are reported according to their type of specific need. Students with multiple disabilities are reported according to their main disability. Most schools for specific purposes have permanent enrolments and include schools for students with intellectual (mild, moderate and severe), physical, visual or hearing disabilities, behaviours disorders or emotional disturbance, and students in juvenile justice centres.

13 Secondary education: Secondary education typically commences after completion of primary education, at around age 12, and lasts for 4 to 6 years. In NSW secondary education extends from Year 7 to Year 12.

14 Ungraded: Ungraded students may attend a special primary, secondary or combined primary/secondary school and may be associated with primary or secondary areas of education but can not be allocated to a particular year level.

GEOGRAPHY

15 Data are geocoded to the Statistical Local Area (SLA) based on the geographic coordinates of the school address rather than then student's residence. In this product, SLAs are aggregated to Local Government Areas (LGA). The 2006 edition of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (cat. no. 1216.0) was used to code the data presented in this product.

COLLECTION METHODOLOGY

16 Student enrolment details are used by schools to complete the Term One Census and Mid Year Census. School enrolment forms are completed by a parent or guardian at the time of student enrolment. It is not compulsory to answer every question asked on the form. School administration staff enter enrolment form details into the school computing system.

17 Standard forms, sent by DET, are used for the Mid Year Census. The forms are completed by school administrative staff, either manually or using a standard computer report. They are then approved by the school's principal and returned to DET.

18 DET processes the forms and then performs data editing, cross validation and data manipulation to ensure data are correct. Forms that have missing values are referred back to the school in question.

ACCURACY

19 A parent or guardian may not necessarily identify the Indigenous status of their child when completing an enrolment form. Therefore Indigenous status may be under reported. The level of under-reporting is not known.

20 As the data is coded to the location of the school, care should be taken in using them in concert with other data sources that are based on the residence of students and families.

21 As this collection is a census, the data are not subject to sampling variability. However, other inaccuracies collectively referred to as non-sampling error may affect the data. These non-sampling errors may arise from a number of sources, including:

  • errors in the reporting of data by respondents;
  • errors in the capturing or processing of data;
  • estimation for missing or misreported data; and
  • definition and classification errors.

22 Due to the rounding of FTE data, totals are not always equal to the sum of the components.

COLLECTION HISTORY

23 Government school censuses have been conducted since the 1980s. Since the first collections, changes in the type of demographic information collected in each census have occurred. For example, between 1987 and 1995 data on language spoken at home were collected in the Mid Year Census. However, from 1996 this information was collected as part of the Term One Census.

PUBLISHED DATA

24 The main source of published data from the Government School Census Collections is the DET Statistical Bulletin and the DET Annual Report. Additional data from the censuses are published in DET LBOTE Bulletin, Mid Year in Brief and the DET Directory. The data collected in the Mid Year Census are also aggregated and published by the ABS in Schools Australia (cat. no. 4221.0)

RELATED WEB SITES

25 Further information can be found at the NSW Department of Education and Training web site: www.det.nsw.edu.au.

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