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4221.0 - Schools, Australia, 2012 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/02/2013   
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DATA QUALITY DECLARATION

INSTITUTIONAL ENVIRONMENT
Data on government and non-government schools are collected from administrative school enrolment databases and collated by the ABS through the non-finance National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC). This collection was established through the work of the former Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA), and is now under the auspices of the Standing Council for School Education and Early Childhood (SCSEEC). For information on the institutional environment of the ABS, including the legislative obligations of the ABS which cover this collection, please see ABS Institutional Environment.

RELEVANCE
This publication contains data on schools, students and in-school staff involved in the provision or administration of primary and secondary education, in government and non-government schools, for all Australian states and territories.

Schools are classified by level of education taught (primary, secondary, combined or special) and affiliation (government or non-government, with non-government able to be further subcategorised as Catholic or Independent).

Students are classified by level and Year of education, Indigenous status, full-time or part-time status, age at 1 July, category of school and sex.

In-school staff are available as counts of staff or full-time equivalent value of staff. Categories for reporting in-school staff may include pro-rated figures where staff may be reported against more than one classification. This includes the classifications of school level (particularly for staff in combined schools and staff working in more than one school) and major area of activity.

Full-time equivalent in-school staff are classified by level of school education (primary or secondary), major function (broad job roles) and sex.

Counts of in-school staff are classified by major function (broad job roles) and sex.

Outputs included in the publication include:

        • number of students
        • number of full-time-equivalent students
        • number of schools
        • number of in-school staff
        • number of full-time equivalent in-school staff
        • ratio of full-time equivalent students to teaching staff
        • measures of student engagement including apparent retention rates
Comparable statistics are provided for each of the states and territories, and nationally where appropriate.

TIMELINES
The NSSC is based on the national school census that is conducted annually on the first Friday in August by each state and territory department of education and the non-government education systems. Information is disseminated through the ABS website from February to March the following year.

ACCURACY
The NSSC is based on enrolment information from education administrative data systems at the time of the school census, collected in accordance with the standards and definitions applying to the collection.

For government data, each school provides and/or validates the information reflecting their enrolments to the relevant state education department, which then processes the data so that data forwarded to the ABS represents, or can be used to derive, student counts (a count of natural persons within a system of education).

Non-government data is co-ordinated through the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).

The ABS undertakes further validation of all received data prior to publication.

Due to the different enrolment systems, the ability to manage multiple records of enrolment for a student may vary among sectors and jurisdictions, which may result in over-reporting of school students in some jurisdictions.

Some small exceptions exist in the interpretation of the standards applying to the collection, and the ability of systems to collect data to the specifications of the collection, that may affect comparisons of school counts, student counts and student full-time equivalent values. Where relevant, such instances are noted in output from the collection.

COHERENCE
NSSC school and student information is a subset of enrolment data from the various education authorities. Staff information is a subset of those authorities’ administrative staff and human resources data. NSSC business rules are applied to these subsets to produce NSSC counts. NSSC counts may not reconcile to counts reported from other subsets from these systems based on different scope and definitions that might be applied for different purposes of reporting (e.g. NSSC student counts may not reconcile to enrolment counts where multiple instances of a student’s enrolments are reported for those students enrolled in more than one school; NSSC schools counts may not reconcile to school counts reported elsewhere due to differences in definitions of a school). For example, state and territory governments report on schools, students and staff in their Annual Reports.

State and territory governments provide NSSC data to DEEWR for Commonwealth funding purposes.

State and territory governments provide school, student and staff data to the Australian Curriculum Assessment & Reporting Authority (ACARA) for school level reporting.

NSSC data are reported through the National Report on Schooling in Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan, National Education Agreement, National Partnership on Youth Attainment and Transitions and the Report on Government Services.

DEEWR reports on non-government school, student and staff data collected for the purposes of administering the Schools Assistance Act 2008.

Student to teaching staff ratios include staff with class contact but who are not teachers, as well as staff who do not have a specific class of students but are teachers (e.g. specialist teachers such as foreign language teachers). These figures are an indicator of staff resources and usage, and are not indicative of class sizes.

The five-yearly Census of Population and Housing includes information on children attending school and the occupation of Australians (including teachers).

The ABS Estimated Resident Population (ERP) series is used in the calculation of some measures of secondary engagement in this publication. It is used as a denominator to calculate students as a proportion of the population. The ERP is an estimate of the population of Australia, based on data from the most recent published ABS Census of Population and Housing, and is updated annually using information on births, deaths and internal migration provided by state and federal government departments. See ABS Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories (cat. no. 3201.0) for further details.

INTERPRETABILITY
Schools, Australia contains detailed Explanatory Notes, Appendices and a Glossary that provide information on the data sources, counting rules, terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics. All aggregate data are collected and reported to standard classifications as stated in the NSSC Data Collection Manual (DCM), and the NSSC Notes, Instructions and Tabulations (NIT) Manual, both of which are available from the ABS on request. All unit record level data are collected and reported to classifications as stated in the NSSC Data Collection Manual.

ACCESSIBILITY
In addition to the information provided in the publication, a number of time series data cubes are available at the time of release of the publication. These provide detailed breakdowns by the various classifications under which the data is collected, see Schools, Australia (cat. no. 4221.0).

If the information you require is not available from either the publication or the data cubes, please contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.


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