4221.0 - Schools, Australia, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/02/2002   
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1 This publication contains statistics of government and non-government schools, students and staff as at August 2001.

2 The National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) is a collaborative arrangement between State, Territory and Commonwealth education authorities and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The NSSC uses a set of concepts, definitions and classifications developed jointly by these agencies.


3 The statistics in this publication relate to establishments which have, as their major activity, the administration and/or provision of full-time day primary, secondary or special education, or primary or secondary distance education. Major activity is based on the activity of students or, where this is not appropriate, for example in administrative offices, on the activity of staff. Therefore, the statistics presented do not include establishments, students or staff engaged in school level education activities conducted by other institutions, in particular Technical and Further Education (TAFE) establishments.

4 Statistics for the government series relate to all establishments administered by the Department of Education under the Director-General of Education (or equivalent) in each State and Territory, students attending those establishments, and all staff engaged in the administration or provision of government school education at those establishments. Statistics for the non-government series relate to all establishments not administered by the Department of Education.

5 In the government series, Pre-year 1 in Western Australia is called Pre-primary. In 2001, there were 19,730 students attending Pre-primary on a four day per week basis, supported by 890.2 FTE school teaching staff. The Education Department of Western Australia has advised that Pre-primary students will be attending five days a week from 2002, at which stage the students and staff will be included within the scope of the NSSC.

6 Emergency and casual relief teaching staff employed on a casual basis are not included in this collection, as they replace permanent teaching staff absent for short periods of time. These permanent teaching staff are already counted in this collection.

7 Education services in Jervis Bay Territory are provided by the Australian Capital Territory Department of Education and Community Services, through Commonwealth Government funding. For the purposes of the NSSC, figures for Jervis Bay Territory are included in statistics for the Australian Capital Territory. As at August 2001, there was one government primary school in Jervis Bay Territory with 93 students, 8.9 FTE teaching staff and 4.6 FTE non-teaching staff.

8 Table 14 shows part-time secondary students by year of school education and State/Territory. Part-time secondary student data was included in the publication for the first time in 1995. Information about part-time primary school students is included in this publication for the first time (table 6).


9 The census date for the collection is the first Friday in August each year. For 2001 this was 3 August, except for the Northern Territory which, for administrative reasons, held its census on 17 August. The age reference date was 1 July for all States and Territories.


10 The statistics were compiled from collections conducted in cooperation with the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, by the State and Territory Departments of Education (government series), and the Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training (non-government series).

11 The methodologies employed in compiling the government sector aggregates on which the statistics in this publication are based vary between the different State and Territory Departments of Education. They range from manipulation of central administrative records to direct collection of data from establishments.

12 The Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training collects data directly from establishments in the non-government sector for all States and Territories. The non-government sector statistics in this publication are a summary of results from that collection.


13 The ABS has published school education statistics for many years. However, prior to the implementation of the NSSC, the data were not necessarily comparable between States and Territories. With the implementation of the NSSC concepts, the definitions, classifications and coverage were revised. The new government series was implemented in 1981 and the non-government series in 1984. Therefore, particular care should be exercised when comparing data in this publication with that prior to 1981 and 1984 for the government and non-government series respectively, and between the two series from 1981 to 1983. In interpreting the figures in this publication, users should be aware that comparability of statistics between States and Territories and between government and non-government schools in any one State or Territory is affected by differences in the organisation of grades, policy on student intake and advancement, flows from secondary to vocational education and the recruitment and employment of teachers.

14 There is no Australia-wide standard method of allocating students and classes to a certain year of school education (grade). A number of schools (other than special schools) do not maintain a formal grade structure. Students at these schools have been allocated to equivalent grades where possible, but otherwise appear against the ungraded category in either the primary or secondary levels school of education.


15 Tables 1, 2, 4 and 5 include counts of the number of schools in a time series format. The number of schools in a particular year can be affected by structural change in the composition of schooling rather than necessarily a change in the number of sites delivering full-time school education. For example, if several schools amalgamated into one large and complex multi-campus school or if a primary school and a secondary school combine into one school, the statistics will show, by definition, a decrease in the number of schools.


16 To calculate the apparent retention rate at the Australia level (as shown in table 10), the total number of full-time students in Year 12 in 2001 is divided by the number of the full-time students in the base year, which is Year 7 in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory in 1996 and Year 8 in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory in 1997 (since those years represent the commencement of the secondary school system in the respective State or Territory). The resultant figure is converted to a percentage. In tables 11 and 12 the base year becomes Year 10 and the retention year remains at Year 12. In table 13 the base year is Year 7/8 but the retention years are Years 9, 10, 11 and 12.


17 Student/teaching staff ratios are calculated by dividing the number of full-time students by the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching staff. Student/teaching staff ratios should not be used as a measure of class size.


18 Since 1989, staff have been categorised in the collection according to their major function. This means that some staff who were previously included in teaching staff are now not included. Users are advised to be aware of this when comparing teaching staff figures published prior to 1989. Also since 1989, executive staff have been included in non-school staff.

19 Since 1990, students attending special schools have not been identified separately, and have been allocated to either the primary or secondary level of school education. From 1990, staff in special schools have also not been identified separately, and have been allocated to either the primary or secondary level of school education.

20 The Tasmanian Department of Education has advised that a change in the Early Childhood Admission Policy, commencing in 1993, has resulted in a change in the enrolment pattern of students in Preparatory and Year 1. Also, commencing in 1996, the definition of the load of a full-time secondary student attending Years 11 and 12 has changed from 450 annual student contact hours to 600. The Department has further advised that, commencing in 1999, students previously identified as ungraded are being included in the normal school grade structure. This may affect apparent retention rates, however the impact is expected to be negligible given the small number of students involved.

21 The Department of Employment, and Education and Training of the Northern Territory has advised that, commencing in 1995, students identified as secondary-aged in remote Aboriginal schools have been reclassified to the ungraded secondary category, as these students cannot be readily classified into the normal urban secondary grade structure. The removal of these students from the calculation of apparent retention rates is partially responsible for the apparent increase in these rates from 1997 (for the Year 10 to Year 12 rate), and from 1999 (for the Year 8 to Year 12 rate).

22 As a result of changed reporting methodology in 1995, non-government school staff who are not based at a particular school, but who are mainly active in schools, are now included in the published figures.


23 This publication draws extensively on information provided freely by education organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated: without it, the wide range of education statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act, 1905.


24 As well as the statistics included in this publication, the ABS has more detailed statistics from the National Schools Statistics Collection available. For example, this publication does not include some of the tables that were released in the 2000 edition. These can be obtained from Companion Data (in Excel spreadsheet format) on this web site. For further assistance regarding schools statistics, please contact Leo Stinson on Canberra 02 6252 7793.


25 Other ABS publications which may be of interest to users are:-Education and Training Indicators, Australia (Cat. no. 4230.0) which is expected to be released in late 2002. This replaces Education and Training in Australia ( Cat. no. 4224.0) - last released in January 1999.-Education and Training Experience, Australia (Cat. no. 6278.0) - issued irregularly, latest issue 1997, released in November 1998. The 2001 edition is expected to be released in late May 2002.-Education and Work, Australia ( ABS Cat. no. 6227.0). Previously titled Transition from Education to Work, Australia- issued annually, latest issue May 2000. The May 2001 edition is expected to be released in late March 2002.

26 Additional information can be found in publications produced by ABS offices in each State and Territory, various publications of the Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training, the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs and in annual reports of the State and Territory Departments of Education.

27 The ABS Year Book Australia (Cat. no. 1301.0) and the State Year Books also contain commentary and data on education. The National Centre for Education and Training Statistics (NCETS) has a theme page on this web site for the dissemination of information on education and training.

28 Current publications produced by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products (Cat. no. 1101.0). On Tuesdays and Fridays the ABS also issues the Release Advice (Cat. no. 1105.0), which lists publications to be released in the next few days. The Catalogue and Release Advice are available from any ABS office and also on this web site.