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This national collection was established between 1980 and 1984 through the work of the former Australian Education Council, superseding individual state and territory based schools collections conducted by the ABS. Oversight of the collection now rests with the Education Council, which in 2013 replaced the Standing Council for School Education and Early Childhood (SCSEEC).
Data on government and non-government schools are collected from administrative school enrolment databases, collated by the ABS through the non-finance National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC). In the case of government schools, the data are supplied to the ABS by each state/territory education authority. For non-government schools, the data are supplied to the ABS by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.
The majority of education authorities supply ABS with data in aggregate format, however, a number of authorities also or alternatively provide student data at unit record level (URL).
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.
This publication contains data on schools, students and staff involved in the provision or administration of primary and secondary education, in government and non-government schools, for all Australian states and territories including Other Territories and Norfolk Island.
Schools are classified by level of education (primary, secondary, combined or special) and affiliation (government or non-government, with non-government 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, affiliation of school and sex.
Staff data are available as (i) counts of staff or (ii) full-time equivalent value of staff. Categories used for reporting in-school staff may include pro-rated figures where staff may be reported against more than one classification. This includes the classification 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 position roles) and sex.
Counts of in-school and out-of-school staff are classified by major function (broad position roles) and sex.
· full-time equivalent students
· in-school staff, and
· full-time equivalent in-school staff
· out-of-school staff, and
· full-time equivalent out-of-school staff
· the ratio of full-time equivalent students to teaching staff, and
· measures relating to students, including apparent retention rates.
The NSSC is based on enrolment information from education administrative data systems at the time of the school census, collected in accordance with agreed national standards and definitions. For government data, each school provides and/or validates the information reflecting their enrolments to the relevant state education department. Each state and territory education department 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 are co-ordinated through the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.
The ABS undertakes validation of all received data prior to publication to ensure nationally comparable and historically consistent output.
Due to the different enrolment systems, the ability to manage multiple records of enrolment for a student may vary among jurisdictions. This may result in a small degree of over-reporting of student numbers in some jurisdictions.
Some minor 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. This may affect comparisons of school counts, student counts and student full-time equivalent values. Any differences are annotated in the tables where relevant.
NSSC school and student information is a subset of the enrolment information provided by the various education authorities. Staff information is a subset of those authorities’ administrative staff and human resources data. The application of NSSC business rules may result in counts which differ from those in other datasets originating from the same education authorities. For example, NSSC student counts may not reconcile to enrolment counts available in alternate datasets where multiple enrolments were reported for those students enrolled in more than one school. Similarly, NSSC schools counts may not reconcile to school counts reported elsewhere due to differences in the definition of a school. These issues are addressed in the Explanatory Notes. The production of aggregate counts from URL data by the ABS may lead to a difference between these and counts that would be obtained where the data are aggregated by another party. Again, the application of different business rules would be the source of any such differences.
At times, jurisdictions may make changes to their administrative systems that impact on the comparability of statistics between years. Key changes are documented in the explanatory material accompanying collection outputs.
State and territory governments report on schools, students and staff in their Annual Reports.
State and territory governments provide NSSC data to the Australian Government Department of Education and Training 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.
In addition to the Schools, Australia publication (cat. no. 4221.0), NSSC data are reported through the National Report on Schooling in Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan, National Education Agreement, and the Report on Government Services.
Student to teaching staff ratios include staff who have class contact but are not teachers, as well as staff who do not have a permanent class of students but are teachers (e.g. specialist teachers such as foreign language teachers). Thus, these figures 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).
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