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This national collection was established between 1980 and 1984 through the work of the former Australian Education Council, superseding individual state and territory based schools collections conducted by the ABS. Oversight of the collection rests with the Education Council.
Data on government and non-government schools are collected from administrative school enrolment databases, collated by the ABS through the non-finance National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC). In the case of government schools, the data are supplied to the ABS by each state/territory education authority. For non-government schools, the data are supplied to the ABS by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.
The majority of education authorities supply ABS with data in aggregate format, however, a number of authorities also or alternatively provide student data at unit record level (URL).
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.
This publication contains data on schools, students and staff involved in the provision or administration of primary and secondary education, in government and non-government schools, for all Australian states and territories including Other Territories and Norfolk Island.
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. Categories used for reporting in-school staff may include pro-rated figures reported against more than one classification. This includes the classification of school level (particularly for staff in combined schools and staff working in more than one school) and major area of activity.
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.
· full-time equivalent students
· in-school staff, and
· full-time equivalent in-school staff
· out-of-school staff, and
· full-time equivalent out-of-school staff
· the ratio of full-time equivalent students to teaching staff, and
· measures relating to students, including apparent retention rates.
Non-government data are co-ordinated 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 degree of over-reporting of student numbers in some jurisdictions.
Some minor differences exist across jurisdictions in the interpretation of the standards applying to the collection and the ability of systems to collect data to the specifications of the collection. This may affect comparisons of school counts, student counts and student full-time equivalent values. Any differences are annotated in the tables where relevant.
At times, jurisdictions may make changes to their administrative systems that impact on the comparability of statistics between years. Key changes are documented in the explanatory material accompanying collection outputs.
State and territory governments report on schools, students and staff in their Annual Reports.
State and territory governments provide NSSC data to the Australian Government Department of Education and Training for Commonwealth funding purposes.
State and territory governments provide school, student and staff data to the Australian Curriculum Assessment & Reporting Authority (ACARA) for school level reporting.
In addition to the Schools, Australia publication (cat. no. 4221.0), NSSC data are reported through the National Report on Schooling in Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan, National Education Agreement, and the Report on Government Services.
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.
The five-yearly Census of Population and Housing includes information on children attending school and the occupation of Australians (including teachers).
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