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Statistics for the non-government series include:
Data for the non-government establishments are reported by schools through the Schools Entry Point, which is managed by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills, and Employment to support schools in meeting their mandatory reporting requirements under the Australian Education Act 2013. These data are then collated by the department and a subset is provided to the ABS for the National Schools Statistics Collection.
Education services in Jervis Bay Territory are provided by the Australian Capital Territory Education Directorate. Figures for Jervis Bay Territory are included with those for the Australian Capital Territory.
Education services in the Territory of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and the Territory of Christmas Island are provided by the Department of Education Western Australia. Figures for these territories are included with those for Western Australia.
Education services in Norfolk Island are provided by the New South Wales Department of Education. Figures for Norfolk Island are included with those for New South Wales.
Emergency and relief teaching staff who are employed on a casual basis are not included in this collection to avoid double counting. Emergency and relief teachers replace permanent teaching staff when they are absent for short periods of time.
Part-time student data by age are available only from 2006 onwards.
The census date for the National Schools Statistics Collection is the first Friday in August each year. For 2019, the census enrolment reference date was 2 August.
Age reference date
The age reference date for students is 1 July.
Occasionally, different jurisdictions make changes in the administration of their education system that can impact on the coherence of the statistics produced in this publication over time. The following information notes the most significant changes of this nature made to the collection from 2012 onwards. For changes prior to 2012 please refer to previous releases.
In 2019, the structure of schooling for some non-government schools in South Australia changed, with year 7 becoming the first year of secondary schooling whereas previously it was year 8.
In 2019 and 2018, a proportion of South Australian Government school students undertook a study load greater than 1 full-time equivalent (FTE) load. The study load component which exceeds 1.0 FTE for a single student has been excluded from these data.
The New South Wales Department of Education transitioned to a new payroll system in a phased roll-out during the 2018 calendar year. This system provides stricter controls and validation over the way casual and temporary teachers are engaged. This improved the information available to distinguish and therefore better identify those teachers that should be included as ‘generally active’ in schools. Care should be taken when comparing New South Wales Government in-school staff time series data.
In 2018, the Australian Capital Territory provided revised 2017 staff data. Relevant revisions have been included in this release but have not been applied to the time series information presented in previous releases of Schools, Australia.
In 2015, the structure of schooling in Queensland and Western Australia changed, with year 7 becoming the first year of secondary schooling, whereas previously it was year 8.
Commencing in 2015, Queensland Government schools were expected to provide a language program in years 5 to 8. Students enrolled in a school of distance education for their language program were recorded as a part-time enrolment in addition to their full-time enrolment at their base government school, resulting in dual enrolments for 2015 and 2016. The addition of these dual enrolments were not reconciled in student counts, resulting in an increase to the number of part-time students reported in years 5 to 8 between 2014 and 2015, most noticeably in year 5. This treatment of dual enrolments in Queensland government school student counts will also be present in other totals to which these counts contribute. This increase is expected to be small.
Prior to 2014 in South Australia, most children started school at age five, and it was common for children to start school at the beginning of the school term following their fifth birthday. From 2014 onwards, children will usually commence school at the start of the year in which they turn five.
Tasmania has alternated between a single and multiple entity college structure. This has impacted on the number of students included in the National Schools Statistics Collection as these structural changes have seen some year 11 and 12 students change classification between school and the vocational education and training sector and hence move in and out of scope of the National Schools Statistics Collection.
From 2012 on, the Victorian Department of Education and Training has assigned a proportion of the full-time equivalent of staff working at combined schools, or at more than one school, at the school level. This was previously done at the state level. This results in a more accurate estimate of full-time equivalent staff.
In 2012, the Queensland Department of Education and Training noted continuing improvements in the response to identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status in government schools, along with a considerable reduction in the number of 'not stated' responses. This may affect comparisons of students by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status with previous years.
The number of schools in a particular jurisdiction may vary from year to year due to administrative changes which alter the composition of schools. For example:
The structure of primary and secondary schooling in Australia differs between states and territories. For the impact on comparability of statistics, please see Differences in schooling structures.
The compilation of government sector data vary between the different state and territory departments of education. Data may be accessed from central administrative databases, sourced from education sectorial bodies or collected directly from education establishments. Data are provided to the ABS for the compilation of these statistics.
The Australian Government Department of Education, Skills, and Employment collects data for establishments in the non-government sector for all states and territories for administrative purposes. The non-government sector statistics in this publication are a summary of results from that collection.
Interpretation of results
The comparability of these statistics may vary between state and territories, and that of schooling sectors, where different policies and administrative arrangements may affect:
There is no national standard covering the allocation of all students and classes to a particular year level of school education. A number of schools (other than special schools) do not maintain a formal year level structure. Where possible, students at these schools have been allocated to equivalent values by the relevant education authorities, but otherwise appear against the ungraded category in either the primary or secondary level of school education.
Relatively small changes in some small populations between years can create large movements in rates and ratios. These populations might include smaller jurisdictions, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and subcategories of the non-government sector.
The estimated resident population series is used in the calculation of some apparent rates in this product. This series is used as a denominator to calculate students as a proportion of the Australian population, by state and territory, age and sex.
The estimated resident population is a quarterly estimate of the population of Australia, based on data from the five yearly ABS Census of Population and Housing, and is updated using information on births, deaths, and overseas and internal migration provided by state, territory and Australian Government departments. For more information, see: Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0).
This product includes apparent rates statistics measuring the proportion of students proceeding through the Australian schooling system. The calculation of actual rates is not currently possible due to the varied levels of detail in data provided to the ABS.
Rates are calculated using the total reported cohort populations in a selected jurisdiction at a selected year either as a percentage of the total estimated resident population or as a percentage of the population for the cohort in an earlier year. Rates calculated in this way are known as 'apparent' rates. Accordingly, the term 'apparent' is used to refer to all rates in this product that are not the 'actual' rate that would result from direct measurement of the movement of each individual student.
For example in New South Wales in 2011, the National Schools Statistics Collection reported 45,262 students aged 15 years, while the estimated resident population was 46,358 persons aged 15 years. In 2012, in New South Wales, the National Schools Statistics Collection reported 41,195 students aged 16 years, while estimated resident population was 46,741 persons aged 16 years. This equates to an apparent continuation rate of 100*(41,195/46,741)/(45,262/46,358) or 90.3%.
There are a number of reasons why apparent rates may generate results that differ from actual rates. These reasons include, but are not limited to:
Such scenarios may also lead to apparent rates that are greater than 100%. From 2015 onwards, the ABS released rates tables in two formats, one with rates exceeding 100% capped to a maximum value of 100%, and one where rates exceeding 100% continue to be reported as the raw calculated value (uncapped). Rates that are capped at 100% are recommended for use as the authoritative measures of student progression, while uncapped rates tables may be more suitable for specific purposes such as undertaking time series analysis of the data or examining movements in underlying student populations.
The formulae and methodology used for the calculation of school participation rates, apparent continuation rates and apparent progression rates are available in the Research Paper: Deriving Measures of Engagement in Secondary Education from the National Schools Statistics Collection (cat. no. 1351.0.55.016) published in December 2006.
Apparent retention rate
This statistic provides an indicative measure of the proportion of students who have stayed at school, for a designated calendar year and year level of education. It is expressed as a percentage of the respective cohort group that those students would be expected to have come from, assuming an expected rate of progression of one year level each calendar year. For example, in 2019, an apparent retention rate for years 10 to 12 would measure the proportion of year 10 students in 2017 that had remained in the schooling system until year 12 in 2019.
The year level of commencement of secondary school varies across states and territories and over time. Rates that use the year level of commencement of secondary school as the base may use a different base for each state and territory to account for differences in schooling structures. Despite this, these rates are comparable as the cohorts are retrospective to the year level of schooling and calendar year from which the rate is calculated. These variations are incorporated into the calculation of rates at the Australia level.
In 2015, the structure of schooling in Queensland and Western Australia changed, with year 7 becoming the first year of secondary schooling, whereas previously it was year 8. For apparent retention rates using the first year of secondary education as the base year, this will impact both state specific apparent retention rates in Queensland and Western Australia, and national rates calculated from 2016 onwards.
South Australia is the only state or territory where year 8 remains as the first of secondary schooling for most schools. While some non-government schools transitioned in 2019 to a new structure of year 7 being the start of high school, year 8 remained as the base cohort for calculating rates for students commencing secondary school in South Australia.
School participation rate
This is a measure of the number of school students of a particular age expressed as a proportion of the estimated resident population of the same age. It indicates the proportion of the population by age enrolled at school.
Rates in the Australian Capital Territory may exceed 100% by large amounts. This is mainly due to the enrolment of students in Australian Capital Territory schools who are not usual residents of the Australian Capital Territory, but who live in surrounding New South Wales regions. This is referred to as cross-border enrolment.
Non-participation in school education is not included in this product as it cannot be accurately calculated from the data supplied.
Apparent continuation rate
This is a measure of the proportion of a single year age group of students (full-time and part-time) who have continued from one calendar year to the next. It can be expressed as the school participation rate of an age cohort in one calendar year as a percentage of the school participation rate of the same cohort in the previous year. For example, an apparent continuation rate for students aged 15 turning 16 would measure the proportion of 15 year old school students that were still at school 12 months later.
Apparent continuation rates can be calculated for any age cohort with a specific characteristic such as all students of a given sex or in a given state/territory as long as a count of the total population with that age and characteristic is available.
Apparent continuation rates include both full-time and part-time students, and are adjusted to factor in changes in the population.
Apparent progression rate
In 2018 the ABS ceased producing apparent progression rates.
Full-time equivalent student/teaching staff ratios
Full-time equivalent student/teaching staff ratios are calculated by dividing the full-time equivalent student figure by the full-time equivalent teaching staff figure. Student/teaching staff ratios are an indicator of the level of staffing resources used and should not be used as a measure of class size. They do not take account of teacher aides and other non-teaching staff who may also assist in the delivery of school education.
Some states and territories are not able to calculate full-time equivalent values on a time-spent basis for all staff functions, but instead use wages paid as a fraction of the full-time pay rate, or a resource allocation based formula. Some also use a pro-rata formula based on student or staff numbers to estimate aggregate full-time equivalents for some categories of staff. This includes staff at combined schools who are allocated to either primary or secondary.
In 2019, there were 128 students whose biological sex was reported as neither male nor female. Reporting on this basis was only completed by a small number of providers. This number does not reflect the total number of Australian school students who are not male or female. There was also a small number of staff from the non-government school sector whose biological sex was reported as neither male nor female.
In order to protect the confidentiality of these individuals the ABS has randomly assigned them either a male or female status. This approach aligns to the United Nations Statistical Division 2010, Handbook on Population and Housing Census Editing, Revision 1, (Sections 346-347). The ABS will review this approach as input data quality improves.
This publication draws extensively on information provided by state and territory government departments with responsibility for school education and the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment. The information is provided to the ABS under applicable state and territory legislation. The continued co-operation of these agencies enables the ABS to publish a wide range of education statistics.
Where estimates are rounded discrepancies may occur between component items and their totals.
Privacy and confidentiality
Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905 and the Privacy Act 1988. Some figures have been perturbed in order to prevent the disclosure of information that may allow the identification of individuals or organisations.
For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.
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