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1344.8.55.001 - ACT Stats, 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/10/2005   
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Contents >> Schools in the ACT - Oct 2005

This article examines selected characteristics of schools in the ACT over time, with state and national comparisons. The data presented does not include students or staff engaged in school level education in institutions other than schools, such as Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT).

At February 2005, the ACT had 140 primary, secondary and combined primary/secondary schools operating throughout the region. Of all schools in the ACT, 96 were government operated and 44 were non-government. Compared to 1984, there are now an extra 9 non-government schools and 1 government school within the ACT.

There were 35,721 students enrolled in government schools at February 2005, and 24,554 students attending non-government schools.

Numbers of ACT full-time school students have increased by 2% since 1984. Enrolment in non-government schools has increased from 32% to 41% of the total ACT student school numbers. And there has been a corresponding decline, of course, in the proportion of students enrolled in government schools; down from 68% in 1984 to 59% in 2005.

Full-time students in ACT schools, by government and non-government
Graph - Full-time students in ACT schools, by government and non-government

The apparent retention rate of full-time students is a measure of how many students stay on to Year 12. For 2004 it is calculated by the total number of full-time Year 12 students in 2004, divided by the number of full-time students in some base year several years earlier (in the ACT's case the number of full time students in Year 7 in 1999). This figure is presented as a percentage.

The apparent retention rate for all full-time students between school Years 7 to 12 in the ACT increased from 80% in August 1984, to 89% in August 2004, although there has been a decrease of almost 5 percentage points since August 1994 (perhaps at least in part because of links between the retention rate and the economic cycle. In times of higher unemployment students are thought to be more inclined to stay on at school because they have less chance of getting a job if they leave). Male students had a slightly higher retention rate than female students in 2004 (90% versus 87%).

Apparent retention rate in ACT schools, by sex
Graph - Apparent retention rate in ACT schools, by sex

The ACT (89%) had the highest overall apparent student retention rate of any Australian state or territory, almost 13 percentage points above the national average of 76%. The ACT's male students recorded the highest retention rate of all male students in Australia, at 90%. In comparison, ACT female students had the second highest retention rate (87%), just behind Victoria (88%).

Apparent retention rate, by state and sex - August 2004
Graph - Apparent retention rate, by state and sex - August 2004

The number of full-time equivalent teaching staff in ACT schools increased by 9%, from 4,019 to 4,373 between August 1984 and August 2004. Full-time female teaching staff (3,400) outnumbered their male counterparts (1,314) by more than two to one at August 2004. And numbers of full-time female staff increased more quickly than the men over the period (increases of 9.6% and 6.8% respectively).

Teaching staff in the ACT, by sex
Graph - Teaching staff in the ACT, by sex

In August 2004, the ratio of full-time equivalent (FTE) students to teachers in ACT primary schools was 15.4 - that is there was an average of 1 teacher for every 15.4 pupils, lower than the national average (16.4), and second lowest of all states and territories behind the Northern Territory. The secondary school student to teacher ratio for the ACT (12.2) was similar to the other states and territories in Australia. The FTE student to teacher ratio for government schools was lower than non-government schools as at August 2004. Government primary schools had 14.2 students per teacher, and secondary schools 11.8. In contrast, the ratio for non-government primary schools was 17.9 students per teacher, and 12.8 for secondary schools.
Full-time equivalent student/teaching staff ratios, by state and category of school 2004 (a)
Graph - Full-time equivalent student/teaching staff ratios, by state and category of school 2004 (a)

To find out more about the ACT and ACT statistics see the ACT Theme Page

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