4221.0 - Schools, Australia, 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/02/2011   
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Affiliation refers to the schools and the systems that administer their operation. It is a hierarchical classification with two broad categories, Government and Non-government.

Within the Non-government affiliation are the Catholic and Independent affiliations. The Catholic affiliation is the largest Non-government affiliated group in Australia. The Independent affiliation is made of schools affiliated with the Anglican school system; and Other schools which have associations with religious or secular bodies, or are entirely independent.

Data in the publication by affiliation is published at the levels of Government and Non-government; and Government, Catholic and Independent. Requests for data at lower levels will be considered on a case by case basis with regard to requirements to maintain confidentiality and privacy.


In the absence of direct measurement, apparent measures based on aggregate enrolment data have been developed to provide indicative measurement of student engagement in secondary education.

Apparent Continuation Rate (ACR)

This is a measure of the proportion of an age group of students (full-time and part-time) that have continued from one year to the next. See, Explanatory Notes, paragraphs 39 to 43, for further information.

Apparent Progression Rate (APR)

This is a measure of the proportion of a cohort of full-time students that moves from one grade to the next grade at an expected rate of one grade per year. See Explanatory Notes, paragraphs 44 to 47, for further information.

Apparent Retention Rate (ARR)

This is a measure of the number of school students in a designated level/year of education expressed as a percentage of their respective cohort group in a base year. In this publication, the base year is the commencement of secondary school and rates have been calculated for those who continued to Years 9, 10, 11 and 12. See Explanatory Notes, paragraphs 31 to 34, for further information.

Estimated Resident Population (ERP)

The Estimated Resident Population (ERP) series is used in the calculation of some measures of secondary engagement in this publication. It is used as a denominator to calculate students as a proportion of the population. The ERP is an estimate of the population of Australia, based on data from the quinquennial ABS Census of Population and Housing, and is updated annually using information on births, deaths and internal migration provided by state and federal government departments. See ABS Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories (cat. no. 3201.0) for further details.

Full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching staff

The FTE value is a measure of the level of staffing resources used. All full-time staff, employed full-time and engaged solely on activities which fall within the scope of this collection, full-time staff have an FTE value of 1.0. All FTE values are rounded to one decimal place.

For staff not employed on a full-time basis, and/or engaged in a combination of in-scope and out-of-scope activities, the FTE value should be calculated on the basis of the proportion of time spent on in-scope activities as compared with that which would be spent by a full-time staff member engaged solely on in-scope activities. Allocations of less than 0.1 FTE are ignored).

Some states and territories are not able to calculate FTE values on a time-spent basis for all staff functions but use wages paid as a fraction of the full-time pay rate, or a resource allocation based formula. Some also use a pro rata formula based on student or staff numbers to estimate aggregate FTE for some categories of staff.

Level and year of education

Year of education comprises Pre-year 1 through to Year 12, plus ungraded primary and ungraded secondary.

Level of education is split into primary and secondary school education.

There are differences in the Years of schooling that comprise the Levels between the states based on the Years for completing and commencing secondary school.

For information on the structure of schooling in the various states and territories in Australia see, Differences in Schooling Structures (Appendix). See also, Explanatory Notes, paragraphs 9 to 19, for further information on Data Comparability.

National School Statistics Collection

The scope of the National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) includes all establishments:

  • administered by departments of school education under the control of directors-general of education (or equivalent) as defined by membership of the Conference of Education Systems Chief Executive Officers (CESCEO); and
  • administered by any other government authority.

The two main sections of the NSSC are:
  • non-finance statistics (numbers of schools, students and staff) collected for both government and non-government schools and published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in its annual Schools Australia (cat.no.4221.0) publication; and
  • finance statistics (expenditure on salaries and non-salary costs collected for government schools) published by ACARA in the National Report on Schooling. Reports prior to 2009 were published by MCEECDYA.

Primary education

For information on the structure of schooling in the various states and territories in Australia see, Differences in Schooling Structures (Appendix).


A school is an education establishment which satisfies all of the following criteria:
  • its major activity is the provision of full-time day primary or secondary education or the provision of primary or secondary distance education;
  • it is headed by a principal (or equivalent) responsible for its internal operation; and
  • it is possible for students to enrol for a minimum of four continuous weeks, excluding breaks for school vacations.

The term ‘school’ in this publication includes schools in institutions and hospitals, mission schools and similar establishments.

The term 'school' in this publication excludes preschools, kindergarten centres, pre-primary schools or pre-primary classes in or attached to non-special schools, senior technical and agricultural colleges, evening schools, continuation classes and institutions such as business or coaching colleges.

Multi-campus arrangements are counted as one school.

School Participation Rate (SPR)

This is a measure of the number of school students of a particular age expressed as a proportion of the Estimated Resident Population of the same age. It indicates the proportion of the population by age who are at school. See, Explanatory Notes, paragraphs 35 to 38, for further information.

In the Australian Capital Territory some rates exceed 100%. This is mainly due to the enrolment of students in ACT schools who are not residents of the ACT, but live in surrounding New South Wales regions. This is referred to as cross-border enrolments.

Secondary education

For information on the structure of schooling in the various states and territories in Australia see, Differences in Schooling Structures (Appendix).

Special school

A special school satisfies the definition of a school and requires one or more of the following characteristics to be exhibited by the student before enrolment is allowed:
  • mental or physical disability or impairment;
  • slow learning ability;
  • social or emotional problems; and/or
  • in custody, on remand or in hospital.

If a student is enrolled in both a hospital or prison school and another school, systems should avoid double counting.


Staff are persons engaged in the administration and/or provision of day primary, secondary or special school education, or primary or secondary education by distance education at in-scope education establishments.

Staff absent from a position for a period of less than four continuous weeks (excluding school vacations for teaching staff) at the Census date should be included. If they have been, or are expected to be, absent from a position for a period of four continuous weeks or longer, count their replacement unless the replacement has not occupied, or is not expected to be occupying, the position for four continuous weeks or longer (excluding school vacations for teaching staff).

Included in the definition of staff are:
  • the FTE of in-scope staff teaching evening secondary students attending Secondary Colleges in Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory and Secondary Colleges in Queensland;
  • staff paid from school grant payments; and/or
  • staff employed under various Government sponsored employment schemes.

Excluded from the definitions of staff are:
  • all persons not under the control of the director-general (or equivalent), e.g. nurses or therapists working for the state or territory department of health (or equivalent);
  • persons responsible to a state, territory or commonwealth minister of education but not to the director-general (or equivalent); and/or
  • persons under the control of the director-general (or equivalent) who satisfy one or more of the following criteria:
      • are cleaners, whether salaried or employed on contract;
      • are involved in the management and/or maintenance of boarding or hostel facilities for students;
      • are paid from privately raised funds;
      • have been occupying, or expect to be occupying, a position for a period of less than four continuous weeks (excluding school vacations for teaching staff) at the Census date; and/or
      • persons replacing those who are temporarily absent.


A student is a person, who on the census date, is formally enrolled in a school and is active in a primary, secondary and/or special education program at that school.

Persons not present at a school on the NSSC census date are included as students if they were expected to be absent for less than four continuous weeks (excluding school vacations).

Students who are undertaking TAFE, tertiary studies, apprenticeships, work placements, VET in schools or a combination of such pathways, in addition to 'normal' school subjects, are in the scope of the NSSC, regardless of which year of schooling these alternative pathways are undertaken. The workload of both the 'normal' school subject(s) and alternative pathways are aggregated together to determine whether a student is classified as full-time or part-time and in calculating the full-time equivalent for part-time students.

A full-time student is one who undertakes a workload equivalent to, or greater than, that prescribed for a full-time student of that year level. This may vary between states and territories and from year to year.

A part-time student is one who undertakes a workload less than that specified as full-time. The full-time equivalent (FTE) value of part-time students is calculated by dividing the student's workload into that which is considered to be a full workload by that state or territory. Part-time secondary student estimates may vary between states and territories due to different policy and organisational arrangements. Age level data for part-time students became available from 2006.

Teaching Staff

Teaching staff are staff who spend the majority of their time in contact with students. They support students either by direct class contact or on an individual basis, and are engaged to impart school curriculum.

For the purposes of this collection, teaching staff includes principals, deputy principals, campus principals and senior teachers mainly involved in administration. Teacher aides and assistants, and specialist support staff are excluded, except assistant teachers working in Homeland Learning Centres and Community Schools in the Northern Territory.