4221.0 - Schools, Australia, 2003  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/02/2004   
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In August 2003, there were 9,607 schools in Australia, of which 6,930 (72.1%) were government schools and 2,677 (27.9%) were non-government schools.

The number of combined primary/secondary schools has grown from 853 in 1993 to 1,106 in 2003 (an increase of 29.7%), with combined schools now representing 11.5% of all schools.


In 2003 there were 3,318,620 full-time school students, 67.9% of whom attended government schools.

Over the period 1993 to 2003, the number of full-time students attending government schools grew by 1.2%, while the number attending non-government schools increased by 22.3%.

There were 25,858 part-time school students in 2003, a decrease of 12.2% since 2002, and 1.5% higher than in 1998. Tasmania (Tas.) had the highest proportion of part-time students (3.1%), followed by South Australia (SA) (2.8%) and the Northern Territory (NT) (2.5%).

In 2003 there were 125,892 Indigenous full-time school students, a 3.5% increase since 2002. Just over 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 2003 were 93.5% for 15-year-olds, 82.7% for 16-year-olds and 62.7% for 17-year-olds, the latter rising from 60.7% in 1993.

graph - Participation Rates of Full Time Students Aged 17


In 2003 the apparent retention rate of full-time school students from Year 7/8 to Year 12 was 75.4% compared to 75.1% in 2002 and 76.6% in 1993. As in previous years, the apparent retention rate for females (80.7%) was significantly higher than the rate for males (70.3%).

Over the last decade the apparent retention rate from Year 10 to Year 12 decreased slightly from 77.5% in 1993 to 76.9% in 2003. The Year 10 to Year 12 rate for females in 2003 was again considerably higher than that for males (81.6% and 72.3% 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 83.3% in 1998 to 87.2% in 2003, and the rate to Year 12 increased from 32.1% to 39.1%.


There were 229,575 full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching staff in 2003, 154,872 at government schools and 74,704 at non-government schools. This was an overall increase of 1.8% from the previous year.

The number of FTE teaching staff in government schools increased by 6.1% since 1998 compared to a 18.5% growth in non-government schools. In the year to 2003, government FTE school teacher numbers increased by 1.2% and non-government FTE school teacher numbers grew by 3.2%.

The proportion of FTE teaching staff who are female continues to rise - in 2003, 67.4% of all FTE teachers were female. The figure was 79.1% in primary schools and 55.3% in secondary schools. The comparable figures in 1998 were 65.5%, 77.5% and 53.5% respectively.

Overall, the average number of FTE primary school students per FTE teacher was 16.6. In government schools the average was 16.4 and in non-government schools it was 17.1. The equivalent figure for secondary schools was 12.4, with an average of 12.5 in government schools and 12.1 in non-government schools.