4221.0 - Schools, Australia, 2018 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/03/2019   
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Data used in the compilation of these statistics are sourced from the National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) (non-finance), which is a joint undertaking between state and territory government departments of education, the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Data pertaining to the government schooling sector are supplied to the ABS by each state/territory education authority. Data pertaining to the non-government schooling sector are supplied to the ABS by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training. Data received by the ABS are treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

For information on the institutional environment of the ABS, including the legislative obligations of the ABS which cover this collection, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


Schools, Australia, is an annual product describing schools, students and staff involved in the provision or administration Australian school education.

Schools are classified by level of education (primary, secondary, combined or special) and affiliation (government or non-government, with non-government further subcategorised as Catholic or independent).

Students are classified by level and year of education, Indigenous status, full-time or part-time status, age at 1 July, affiliation of school and sex.

Staff data are available as (i) counts of staff or (ii) full-time equivalent value of staff. Full-time equivalent in-school staff are classified by level of school education (primary or secondary), major function (broad position roles) and sex. Counts of in-school and out-of-school staff are classified by major function (broad position roles) and sex.

Student to teaching staff ratios include staff who have class contact but are not teachers, as well as staff who do not have a permanent class of students but are teachers (e.g. specialist teachers such as foreign language teachers). Thus, these figures are not indicative of class sizes.

School-level education conducted by other institutions, such as ‘home schooling’ or Technical and Further Education (TAFE) establishments, are excluded.


This publication is an annual product. The National Schools Statistics Collection is based on the national Schools Census that is conducted yearly on the first Friday in August. For 2018, the census enrolment reference date was 3 August.


The data used in this publication are based on information from education administrative systems. Government school data is provided by each school to the relevant state education department. Non-government data are coordinated through the Australian Government Department of Education and Training. The ABS undertakes validation of all received data prior to publication to ensure nationally comparable and historically consistent output.

Due to the different enrolment systems, the ability to manage multiple records of enrolment for a student may vary among jurisdictions. This may result in a small amount of over-reporting of student numbers in some jurisdictions.

To avoid double-counting, emergency and relief teaching staff who are employed on a casual basis are not included in this collection.

Relatively small changes in some small populations between years can create large movements in rates and ratios.


The ABS has produced the Schools, Australia publication, or its predecessors, annually since 1960. Given its long history, the ABS seeks to provide a high degree of consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes where possible. However, sound practice requires careful and continuing maintenance and development to maintain the integrity of the data and the efficiency of the collection.

At times, jurisdictions may make changes to their administrative systems that impact on the comparability of statistics between years. Key changes back to 2012 are documented in the Explanatory Notes.


Schools, Australia contains detailed explanatory notes which provide information on the data sources, counting rules, terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics. All aggregate data are collected and reported to the specification detailed in the NSSC Notes, Instructions and Tabulations Manual, and the NSSC Data Collection Manual. Both documents are available from the ABS on request.


Tabulated data are available in spreadsheet format and can be accessed from the downloads tab.

For further information about these or related statistics, please contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

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