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The growth in student numbers was significantly greater at the primary level of education, where student numbers increased by 2.1%, compared to the 0.7% increase at the secondary level. Again, these figures mirror the increases recorded in the previous twelve-month period.
Across the states and territories, the largest proportional increase in student numbers occurred in Western Australia, which recorded a rise of 2.8%, followed by the ACT where student numbers increased by 2.0%. Tasmania, the only state where student numbers fell, recorded a decrease of 1.9%.
As in previous years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student numbers increased at a greater rate than for all students, in part reflecting improved identification and collection strategies. The increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Catholic schools was 8.0%, 6.0% for Independent schools, and 4.2% for government schools.
Overall, 84.4% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students attended government schools, 10.2% attended Catholic schools, and 5.4% attended Independent schools. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students made up 6.6% of total enrolments in government schools, 2.5% in Catholic schools and 1.9% in Independent schools.
Of the 184,213 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school students in Australia, New South Wales had the largest proportion (31.5%), followed by Queensland (29.7%). Western Australia had 13.3% of these students, with the smallest proportion in the Australian Capital Territory (0.9%).
NUMBER OF ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER STUDENTS, by affiliation, states and territories, 2013
In 2013 the number of students attending school part-time continued to fall. The past five years have seen the figures for these students drop by 8.1%, from 22,760 in 2008 to 20,914 in 2013, with these students now making up just 0.6% of all students.
APPARENT RETENTION RATES
The national apparent retention rate for students from Year 7/8 to Year 12 rose from 79.9% in 2012 to 81.6% in 2013. The rate rose in all states and territories, with the smallest rise of 0.4 percentage points in Victoria and the largest rise of 2.7 percentage points in Northern Territory.
As has been the case for many years, the Year 7/8 to Year 12 apparent retention rate for females exceeded that for males. Between 2012 and 2013 the rate for females rose from 84.3% to 85.6%, while the rate for males rose from 75.8% to 77.8%. The gap between males and females has been slowly closing in recent years, with a difference of 11.7 percentage points between males and females in 2006 decreasing to 7.8 percentage points in 2013.
Between 2012 and 2013, the largest increase in apparent retention rates occurred in government schools, which rose by 1.4 percentage points. Over the same period, the increase for Catholic schools was 0.5 percentage points, while for Independent schools, the rate fell by 0.1 percentage points. Care should be taken when interpreting these statistics as students may move between schools of different affiliation during their years of secondary school.
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