4221.0 - Schools, Australia (Reissue), 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/02/2005   
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In August 2004, there were 9,615 schools in Australia, of which 6,938 (72.2%) were government schools and 2,677 (27.8%) were non-government schools.

Combined primary/secondary schools accounted for 12.4% of all schools (excluding special schools). The number of these schools has increased by 29.9%, from 879 in 1994 to 1,142 in 2004.


In 2004 there were 3,331,964 full-time school students, 67.5% of whom attended government schools.

Over the period 1994 to 2004, the number of full-time students attending government schools grew by 1.6% (from 2,214,938), while the number attending non-government schools increased by 22.4% (from 884,442).

There were 26,438 part-time school students in 2004, an increase of 2.2% since 2003, but 10.2% lower than in 2002. Tasmania (Tas.) had the highest proportion of part-time students (3.1%), followed by South Australia (SA) and the Northern Territory (NT) (both with 2.9%).

In 2004 there were 130,447 Indigenous full-time school students, a 3.6% increase since 2003. Almost 58% of these students attended schools in New South Wales (NSW) or Queensland (Qld) in 2004.


At the Australian level, the age participation rates for full-time school students in 2004 were 93.4% for 15-year-olds, 82.8% for 16-year-olds and 63.6% for 17-year-olds, the latter rising from 59.7% in 1994.

graph: Participation Rates of Full-Time Students Aged 17 Years


In 2004 the apparent retention rate of full-time school students from Year 7/8 to Year 12 was 75.7% compared to 75.4% in 2003 and 74.6% in 1994. As in previous years, the apparent retention rate for females (81.2%) was significantly higher than the rate for males (70.4%).

Over the last decade the apparent retention rate from Year 10 to Year 12 increased slightly from 75.3% in 1994 to 77.1% in 2004. The Year 10 to Year 12 rate for females in 2004 was again considerably higher than that for males (82.1% and 72.3% respectively).

Apparent retention rates for Indigenous full-time 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 82.0% in 1999 to 86.4% in 2004, and the rate to Year 12 increased from 34.7% to 39.5%. These Indigenous retention rates are still lower than the comparable rates for non-Indigenous students. In 2004, the rate to Year 10 for non-Indigenous school students was 98.5%, while the rate to Year 12 was 76.8%.


There were 233,065 full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching staff in 2004, 156,156 at government schools and 76,910 at non-government schools. This was an overall increase of 1.5% from the previous year.

The number of FTE teaching staff in government schools has increased by 3.8% since 1999 compared to 17.9% in the non-government sector. In the year to August 2004, government FTE school teacher numbers increased by 0.8% and non-government FTE school teacher numbers grew by 3.0%.

The proportion of FTE teaching staff who are female continues to rise — in 2004, 67.7% of all FTE teachers were female. The figure was 79.4% in primary schools and 55.6% in secondary schools. The comparable figures in 1999 were 66.1%, 78.0% and 54.1% respectively.

Overall, the average number of FTE primary school students per FTE teacher was 16.4. In government schools the average was 16.2 and in non-government schools it was 16.9. The equivalent figure for secondary schools was 12.3, with an average of 12.4 in government schools and 12.0 in non-government schools.