4221.0 - Schools, Australia, 2002  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/02/2003   
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In August 2002, there were 9,632 schools in Australia, of which 6,969 (72.4%) were government schools and 2,663 (27.6%) were non-government schools.

During the decade from 1992 to 2002 the total number of schools fell by 3.3%. Government school numbers declined by 6.4%, whereas the number of non-government schools rose by 6.1%.

The number of combined primary/secondary schools has grown from 837 in 1992 to 1,085 in 2002 (an increase of 29.6%), with combined schools now representing 11.3% of all schools.


In 2002 there were 3,301,776 full-time school students, 68.4% of whom attended government schools.

Over the period 1992 to 2002, the number of full-time students attending government schools grew by 1.0%, while the number attending non-government schools increased by 20.8%. Compared to 2001, the number of full-time students attending government schools in 2002 increased by 9,118 (0.4%), while non-government school student numbers increased by 24,517 or 2.4%.

There were 29,450 part-time school students in 2002, an increase of 3.6% since
2001, and 5.6% higher than in 1997. Tasmania (Tas.) had the highest proportion of part-time students (3.4%), followed by South Australia (SA) (3.0%) and the Northern Territory (NT) with 2.9%.

In 2002 there were 121,647 Indigenous full-time school students, a 5.4% increase over the number reported in 2001. Approximately 57% of Indigenous students attended schools in New South Wales (NSW) or Queensland (Qld).


At the Australian level, the age participation rates for full-time school students in 2002 were 92.5% for 15 year olds, 80.9% for 16 year olds and 62.3% for 17 year olds, the latter rising from 60.3% in 1992.

participation rates of full-time students aged 17


In 2002 the apparent retention rate of full-time school students from Year 7/8 to Year 12 was 75.1% compared to 73.4% in 2001 and 77.1% in 1992. As in previous years, the apparent retention rate for females (80.7%) was significantly higher than the rate for males (69.8%).

Over the last decade the apparent retention rate from Year 10 to Year 12 decreased slightly from 78.6% in 1992 to 77.0% in 2002, with the rate for females in 2002 again being considerably higher than that for males (81.7% and 72.4% respectively).

Apparent retention rates for full-time Indigenous school students, from Year 7/8 to both Year 10 and Year 12, have continued to rise over the last five years — the rate to Year 10 increased from 80.6% in 1997 to 86.4% in 2002, and the rate to Year 12 increased from 30.9% to 38.0%.


There were 225,353 full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching staff in 2002, 152,982 at government schools and 72,371 at non-government schools. This was an overall increase of 1.4% from the previous year.

The number of FTE teaching staff in government schools increased by 5.1% since 1997 compared to a 17.6% growth in the non-government sector. In the year to 2002, government FTE school teacher numbers increased by 0.3% and non-government FTE school teacher numbers grew by 3.7%.

The proportion of FTE teaching staff who are female continues to rise - in 2002, 67.3% of all FTE teachers were female. The figure was 79.1% in primary schools and 55.1% in secondary schools. The comparable figures in 1997 were 65.0%, 76.9% and 53.1% respectively.

Overall, the average number of FTE primary school students per FTE teacher was 16.9. In the government sector the average was 16.7 and in non-government schools it was 17.3. The equivalent figure for secondary schools was 12.5, with an average of 12.6 in government schools and 12.3 in non-government schools.