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DATA QUALITY DECLARATION
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). This collection was established through the work of the former Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). 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 in-school staff involved in the provision or administration of primary and secondary education, in government and non-government schools, for all Australian states and territories.
Schools are classified by level of education taught (primary, secondary, combined or special) and affiliation (government or non-government, with non-government able to be 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, category of school and sex.
In-school staff are available as counts of staff or full-time equivalent value of staff. Categories for reporting in-school staff may include prorated figures where staff may be reported against more than one classification. This includes the classifications of school level (particularly for staff in combined schools and staff working in schools but not at one specific 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 job roles) and sex.
Counts of in-school staff are classified by major function (broad job roles) and sex.
§ numbers of full-time-equivalent students
§ numbers of schools
§ numbers of in-school staff
§ numbers of full-time equivalent in-school staff
§ ratio of full-time equivalent students to teaching staff
§ measures of secondary engagement including apparent retention rates.
The NSSC is based on the national school census that is conducted annually on the first Friday in August by each state and territory department of education and the non-government education systems. Information is disseminated through the ABS website from late January through to March the following year.
The NSSC is based on enrolment information from education administrative data systems at the time of the school census, collected in accordance with the standards and definitions applying to the collection.
For government data, each school provides and/or validates the information reflecting their enrolments to the relevant state education department. Each state and territory education department processes the data so that data forwarded to the ABS represents, or can be used to derive, student counts (a count of natural persons within a system of education).
Non-government data is coordinated through the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).
The ABS undertakes further validation of all received data prior to publication.
Due to the different enrolment systems, the ability to manage multiple records of enrolment for a student may vary among jurisdictions, which may result in over-reporting of school students in some jurisdictions.
Some small exceptions exist in the interpretation of the standards applying to the collection, and the ability of systems to collect data to the specifications of the collection, that may affect comparisons of school counts, student counts and student full-time equivalent values.
NSSC school and student information is a subset of the enrolment information provided by the various education authorities. Staff information is a subset of those authorities’ administrative staff and human resources data. The application of NSSC business rules may result in counts which differ from those in other datasets originating from the same education authorities. For example, NSSC student counts may not reconcile to enrolment counts available in alternate datasets where multiple enrolments were reported for those students enrolled in more than one school. Similarly, NSSC schools counts may not reconcile to school counts reported elsewhere due to differences in the definition of a school.
State and territory governments report on schools, students and staff in their Annual Reports.
State and territory governments provide NSSC data to DEEWR 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.
NSSC data is reported through the National Report on Schooling in Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan, National Education Agreement, National Partnership on Youth Attainment and Transitions and the Report on Government Services.
Students to teaching staff ratios include staff with class contact but who 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). These figures are a financial indicator and are not indicative of class sizes.
Schools, Australia (cat. no. 4221.0) contains detailed Explanatory Notes, Appendices and a Glossary that provides 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 standard classifications as stated in the NSSC Notes, Instructions and Tabulations manual (NIT), available on request. All unit record level data are collected and reported to classifications as stated in the NSSC Data Collection Manual, available on request, which aligns with the aggregate data specifications in the NIT.
In addition to the information provided in the publication, a number of time series data cubes providing detailed breakdowns by the various classifications that the data is collected by are available at the time of release of the publication, see Schools, Australia (cat. no. 4221.0).
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