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4221.0 - Schools, Australia, 2009  
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APPENDIX 2 COLLECTION OF INDIGENOUS STATUS OF STUDENTS


BACKGROUND

In 2003, the then Ministerial Council for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, agreed to a national standard for collecting and coding Indigenous status for school educational purposes through the Data Implementation Manual (DIM). The purpose of DIM is to provide guidance to schools and school systems with the collection of information on student background characteristics using nationally agreed standard measures.

Until the 2009 Schools Census, reporting of Indigenous status for the NSSC did not require a 'not stated' Indigenous status category. Publication of results from the 'not stated' category will assist in understanding the differences between and similarities of the methods for collecting Indigenous status across the government and non-government sectors.


IDENTIFICATION OF STUDENTS' INDIGENOUS STATUS

Parents or guardians are asked to identify their child as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, both or neither, when enrolling for the first time. Provision of Indigenous status is not generally mandatory and if this section of the enrolment form is left blank, 'not stated' should be recorded on the enrolment database. In addition to stated response categories, most states and territories keep specific records of students whose Indigenous status is 'not stated'.


QUALITY OF DATA

In the past, when enrolment forms were left blank, data on Indigenous status of the student, would have defaulted to 'non-Indigenous'. This did not allow a direct follow-up of students whose Indigenous status was left blank on their enrolment form.

In addition, once an enrolment form is filled in, there is limited opportunity to review the data at a later date, unless the student changes schools and fills in another enrolment form. While many schools ask parents and guardians to update student details for their children, often on an annual basis, this is infrequently actioned.

The following tables outline the total numbers and proportions of students whose Indigenous status was recorded as 'not stated' in 2009 by year level and jurisdiction.

Number of students whose Indigenous status is recorded as 'not stated' - 2009

Government
NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Non- government
No.
No.
No.
No.
No.
No.
No.
No.
No.

Primary students
Pre-year 1
169
3 854
13
-
587
76
26
-
-
Year 1
16
3 890
3
-
567
102
11
-
-
Year 2
13
4 692
3
-
641
90
13
3
-
Year 3
11
2 385
-
-
693
196
3
6
-
Year 4
18
1 568
-
-
782
540
9
-
-
Year 5
10
1 336
-
-
804
560
7
3
-
Year 6
12
1 295
-
-
868
469
13
-
-
Year 7(a)
. .
. .
7
-
472
. .
. .
. .
-
Ungraded primary
3
659
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Total primary
252
19 679
26
-
5 414
2 033
82
12
-
Secondary students
Year 7(a)
37
2 614
. .
. .
. .
490
27
17
-
Year 8
36
3 093
-
-
686
509
9
-
-
Year 9
23
3 269
7
-
696
517
10
-
-
Year 10
20
2 179
-
-
1 040
537
8
-
-
Year 11
53
1 407
-
-
942
311
11
32
-
Year 12
23
953
-
-
1 019
582
6
3
-
Ungraded secondary
6
404
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Total secondary
198
13 919
7
-
4 383
2 946
71
52
-
Total students with 'not stated' Indigenous Status
Total
450
33 598
33
-
9 797
4 979
153
64
-

. . not applicable
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Year 7 is the last year of primary school in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, and the first year of secondary school in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory.



Care should be taken in interpreting this data as a higher proportion of students whose Indigenous status was 'not stated' does not necessarily mean poorer quality data. The proportion of 'not stated' results in each jurisdiction will depend on a number of factors. For example:
  • Whether or not 'not stated' Indigenous status is recorded in electronic student record systems
  • When the 'not stated' category for Indigenous status began to be recorded in electronic student record systems
  • Whether or not there is follow-up of students whose Indigenous status is not provided
  • Whether or not there are opportunities for student records to be reviewed or updated.

Given these factors, the following section enables users to assess the completeness and quality of Indigenous status data for each jurisdiction and the non-government sector.


Question on enrolment form

New South Wales government

Aboriginality: Is the student of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?
  • No
  • Aboriginal
  • Torres Strait Islander
  • Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Victoria government

Is the student of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?
  • No
  • Yes, Aboriginal
  • Yes, Torres Strait Islander
  • Yes, Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Queensland government

Is the student of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?
  • No
  • Yes, Aboriginal
  • Yes, Torres Strait Islander
  • Yes, Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

South Australia government

Is the student of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin? (for persons of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin, tick both 'yes' boxes)
  • No
  • Yes, Aboriginal
  • Yes, Torres Strait Islander

Western Australia government

Is the student of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?
  • No
  • Yes, Aboriginal
  • Yes, Torres Strait Islander
  • Yes, Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Tasmania government

Is the student of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin? (for persons of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin, tick both 'yes' boxes)
  • No
  • Yes, Aboriginal
  • Yes, Torres Strait Islander

Northern Territory government

Is the student of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin? (for persons of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin, tick both 'yes' boxes)
  • No
  • Yes, Aboriginal
  • Yes, Torres Strait Islander

Australian Capital Territory government

Is the student of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin? (for persons of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin, tick both 'yes' boxes.)
  • No
  • Yes, Aboriginal
  • Yes, Torres Strait Islander

Non-government data as collected by DEEWR

This may vary between non-government schools.


Indigenous status categories on electronic enrolment system

New South Wales
  • No
  • Aboriginal
  • Torres Strait Islander
  • Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Not Stated
  • Unknown (default)

Victoria government
  • No
  • Aboriginal
  • Torres Strait Islander
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Not stated (default)

Queensland government
  • No
  • Aboriginal
  • Torres Strait Islander
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Not stated (default)

South Australia government

School Administrative System stores data as:
  • Aboriginal: [Yes/No]
  • Torres Strait Islander [Yes/No].

Central census system processes the above data to:
  • Aboriginal
  • Torres Strait Islander
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Not Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (default)

Western Australia government
  • Indigenous
  • Non-Indigenous
  • Torres Strait Islander
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Not stated (default)

Tasmania government
  • Indigenous
  • Non-Indigenous
  • Torres Strait Islander
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Not stated (default)

Northern Territory government
  • No
  • Aboriginal
  • Torres Strait Islander
  • Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Not stated
  • Not specified (default)

Australian Capital Territory government
  • Aboriginal
  • Torres Strait Islander
  • Both
  • Not Indigenous
  • Not stated (default)

Non-government data as collected by DEEWR

Collected by DEEWR as Indigenous; Not Indigenous.


Is follow-up conducted for students whose Indigenous status is not provided?

New South Wales

Students whose Indigenous status is not provided is defaulted to 'unknown'. Follow-up is then conducted. For refusals, Indigenous status is recorded as 'not stated'. Students whose Indigenous status is recorded as either 'unknown' or 'not stated' are reported as 'not stated' for the purposes of the NSSC.

Victoria government

Students whose Indigenous status is not provided are not followed-up and 'not stated' is recorded.

Queensland government

Students whose Indigenous status is not provided are not followed-up and 'not stated' is recorded.

South Australia government

Students whose Indigenous status is not provided are defaulted to 'Not Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander' and no follow-up is conducted.

Western Australia government

Students whose Indigenous status is not provided are followed-up. 'Not stated' is recorded where the student or parent/guardian has chosen not to identify their Indigenous status.

Tasmania government

Students whose Indigenous status is not provided are not followed-up and 'not stated' is recorded.

Northern Territory government

Students whose Indigenous status is not provided is defaulted to 'not specified'. Follow-up is then conducted. For refusals, Indigenous status is recorded as 'not stated'. Students whose Indigenous status is recorded as either 'not specified' or 'not stated' are reported as 'not stated' for the purposes of the NSSC.

Australian Capital Territory government

Students whose Indigenous status is not provided are not followed-up and 'not stated' is recorded.

Non-government data as collected by DEEWR

Students whose Indigenous status is not provided is defaulted to non-Indigenous. No follow-up is conducted by DEEWR. However, follow-up practices may vary between schools.


When is the Indigenous status of the student reviewed?

New South Wales

When students enrol for the first time, and when they enrol in a new school.

Victoria government

When students enrol for the first time, and when they enrol in a new school. Schools are able to update details of ongoing students by sending details home for parents or carers to update, however, it is not known how often this occurs or how many schools do this.

Queensland government

When students enrol for the first time, and when they enrol in a new school.

South Australia government

When students enrol for the first time, and when they enrol in a new school.

Western Australia government

When students enrol for the first time, and when they enrol in a new school.

Tasmania government

When students enrol for the first time, and when they enrol in a new school. Information is validated annually for existing students.

Northern Territory government

When students enrol for the first time, and when they enrol in a new school. However, information from previous school can be transferred to the next school so information is not necessarily updated at this time. Schools have an optional update form that can be generated and sent to parents or guardians to update student details but not all schools follow this process.

Australian Capital Territory government

When students enrol for the first time, and when they enrol in a new school. However, information from a previous school can be transferred to the next school so information is not necessarily updated at this time.

Non-government data as collected by DEEWR

Indigenous status of students is not updated by DEEWR. However, practices may vary between schools.


In which year was a 'not stated' category for Indigenous status first implemented?

New South Wales

2008

Victoria government

2006

Queensland government

2005

South Australia government

Not currently collected. However, plans are in place to collect 'not stated' Indigenous status in the future.

Western Australia government

Implemented between 2000 and 2003

Tasmania government

2005. (Data collection has improved since this time and the number of students whose Indigenous status is 'not stated' is declining).

Northern Territory government

2005

Australian Capital Territory government

2009

Non-government data as collected by DEEWR

May vary between schools but not collected by DEEWR.


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