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There are currently 127 schools in the ACT, 83 government schools and 44 non-government schools. The number of government schools has declined by 13 since 2005, while the number of non-government schools have remained the same over the same period.
In February 2010, the majority of school students attended government schools. Enrolment in government schools was most pronounced in the primary school level where 60% of school students attended and 40% attended non-government schools. In the high school/college levels 54% of all students attended government schools at February 2010, while 46% attended non-government schools.
Excluding preschool students, school students enrolled in the government sector is 34,832 in 2010, up 344 students from 2009 but down 631 since 2006.
There has been an increase in student numbers for every year in the non-government sector (excluding preschool students) from 24,679 in 2006 to 25,974 in 2010 for an overall increase of 5% (or 1,295 students).
Apparent Retention Rates
Apparent retention rates measure the number of students in Year 12 as a percentage of their secondary schooling commencing cohort group (Year 7 for New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT and Year 8 for Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory). To calculate the rate, the total number of full-time students in Year 12 is divided by the number of full-time students in the base year. The resultant figure is converted to a percentage. Care should be exercised in the interpretation of these results, as this method of calculation does not take in to account a range of factors, including students repeating a year of education, migration and other net changes in the school population. In small jurisdictions such as Tasmania, Northern Territory and the ACT relatively small changes in student numbers can create apparently large movements in retention rates.
The ACT has historically exhibited higher than average apparent retention rates than Australia. The graph above shows the apparent retention rate declined by 6 percentage points between 1999 and 2009 for the ACT (from 93% to 87%). Comparatively, all other states and territories, as well as Australia, have exhibited steady or increasing apparent retention rates over the same time period. Factors which could explain this decline in the ACT include more students choosing vocational education as a means of completing secondary schooling, students moving interstate between Year 7/8 and Year 12, repeating a year of education and other net changes to the school population.
Student/Teaching Staff Ratio
The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) primary school teaching staff in the ACT increased by 11 FTE teachers over the period 2005 (2,077) to 2009 (2,088). Over that period, the FTE student for every FTE teaching staff remained steady at 15.0 FTE students. The FTE teaching staff in secondary schools increased by 25 from 2005 (2,323) to 2009 (2,348) with the FTE student for every FTE teaching staff decreasing slightly from 12.3 FTE students in 2005 to 12.2 in 2009. Comparatively for Australia in 2009, there were on average 15.8 FTE students for every FTE teaching staff in primary schools and 12.0 students for every teaching staff in secondary schools.
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
In Australia VET providers are TAFE institutes, universities, secondary schools, industry organisations, private enterprises, agricultural colleges, community education providers and other government providers.
Between 2005 and 2009 the number of students enrolled in publicly-funded VET in the ACT increased by 15.3% from 22,964 students to 26,488. The ACT experienced an increase in VET student numbers of 7.3% between 2008 and 2009, whilst nationally there was an increase of 0.4% for the same period.
The 15-19 year age group had the highest participation rate between 2005 and 2009 with an increase in the rate from 20% in 2005 to 23% in 2009. The age group with the second highest participation rate over the same period was the 20-24 year age group, 18% in 2005 and 20% in 2009.
The field of education with the highest number of students over the 2005 to 2009 period was Management and commerce, with 5,908 students in 2005 and 6,553 students in 2009, an increase of 11%. Society and culture had the second highest number of students with 4,306 students in 2005 and 4,682 students in 2009, an increase of 7%. Natural and physical sciences had the lowest number of students with 403 in 2005 and 316 in 2009. Architecture and building was the field that recorded the greatest percentage increase in student numbers between 2005 and 2009 (160%), followed by Food, hospitality and personal services (24%). Natural and physical sciences experienced the greatest percentage fall in student numbers between 2005 and 2009 with a decrease of 22%.
Higher education in the ACT includes the Australian National University (ANU), the University of Canberra (UC), and the Signadou campus of the Australian Catholic University (ACU).
Enrolments in higher education in the ACT have increased from 26,704 students in 2004 to 28,532 students in 2008, an overall increase of 7%. This was due to an increase of students undertaking a postgraduate higher degree (from 6,258 students in 2004 to 7,237 students in 2008).
In 2008 the ANU and UC accounted for 97% of the total tertiary students in the ACT. ANU had the highest proportion of undergraduate students (54%). The university with the highest number of non-award course students was ANU with 275 students.
The proportion of higher education students in the ACT undertaking a full-time course ranged between 67% and 71% over the last five years. For the last four years, female students have comprised of 54% of enrolled students.
Full-time students comprised 70% of all students at ANU in 2008. ANU had the highest proportion of male students (49%), while the Signadou campus of the ACU had the highest proportion of female students (77%).
Overseas students accounted for 21% (or 6,015 students) of all higher education students enrolled in the ACT in 2008. ANU had the highest number of overseas students (3,683). ANU and UC both had a relatively even distribution of males and females among overseas students, with males in the ANU accounting for 54% of overseas students and in UC, 52%.
The proportion of onshore overseas students has increased from 73% of overseas students in 2004 to 87% in 2008. From 2004 to 2008, the number of offshore overseas students has decreased by 47%.
Enrolments in higher education by overseas male students have increased from 3,145 students in 2004 to 3,188 students in 2008, an overall increase of 1%. While enrolments in higher education by overseas female students have increased from 2,371 students in 2004 to 2,827 students in 2008, an overall increase of 19%.
National Assessment Program on Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN)
National Assessment Program on Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN)
The Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA) conducts a NAPLAN each year. The NAPLAN tracks achievement in reading, writing, language conventions (grammar and spelling) and numeracy through administration of a standard test to all Australian students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. Student reports show what students know and can do, in the five areas tested, how they performed in relation to other students in the year group, and achievement against the national average and national minimum standard.
Some key ACT figures from the NAPLAN Summary Report for 2010 are as follows:
Of Year 3 ACT students, 96.1% were at or above the national minimum standard for reading, 2 percentage points higher than the national level.
Of Year 7 ACT students, the percentage was 97.2%, one of the highest percentages for all states and territories, and 2 percentage points higher than the national average.
Of Year 5 students, 94.9% were at or above the national minimum standard for writing, which was 1.8 percentage points above the national level.
Grammar and Punctuation
Of Year 9 students, the ACT had the highest percentage that were at or above the national minimum standard of all states and territories (93.5%), 2.7 percentage points above the national average.
Of Year 3 students, 97% were at or above the national minimum standard for numeracy, the highest percentages of all states and territories, and 2.8 percentage point higher than the national level.
The average participation rate across all year groups and all tests for the ACT was 95%.
For further information please see the MCEECDYA NAPLAN Summary Report, on the NAPLAN website.
The full report on the 2010 NAPLAN results will be released later this month.