4221.0 - Schools, Australia, 2011 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/02/2012   
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For more information on most of the concepts outlined here see the Explanatory Notes.


Affiliation categorises schools and their enrolments and refers generally to the systems that administer their operation. It is a hierarchical classification with two broad categories, government and non-government.

The non-government affiliation can be further subcategorised based on the religious or philosophical beliefs and values maintained by the school as self-reported to DEEWR.

For publication in Schools, Australia (cat. no. 4221.0) the subcategories of non-government affiliation are reported as either Catholic (systemic and non-systemic) or Independent (Anglican schools and other schools which have associations with religious or secular bodies, or are entirely independent).

Data in the publication which is classified by affiliation are published at the level of government and non-government or government, Catholic and Independent. Requests for data at lower levels will be considered on a case-by-case basis with regard to the ABS’ requirement to maintain privacy and confidentiality in the data.


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


This measures the proportion of an age group of students (full-time and part-time) that has continued in school from one year to the next.


This measures the proportion of a cohort of full-time students that moves from one Year (grade) to the next at an expected rate of progression of one Year per year.


This provides an indicative measure of the number of school students who have stayed in school, as at a designated Year (grade) and year of education. It is expressed as a percentage of the respective cohort group against the cohort that those students would be expected to have come from, assuming an expected rate of progression of one Year per year.


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).


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. This may vary between states and territories and from Year to Year. The minimum workload for a full-time student would ensure that a student could complete a given Year in a year.


The FTE value is a measure used to indicate the level of staffing resources.

Staff who are employed full-time and engaged solely on activities which fall within the scope of this collection have an FTE value of 1.0.

Staff not employed on a full-time basis, and/or engaged in a combination of in-scope and out-of-scope activities, have their FTE value calculated on the basis of the proportion of time spent on in-scope activities compared with staff that would be considered full-time.

Some states and territories are not able to calculate FTE values on a time-spent basis for all staff functions but instead 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. This would likely include staff at combined schools that are allocated to primary or secondary categories

All FTE values are rounded to one decimal place.


The National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) is the dataset that Schools, Australia (cat. no. 4221.0) is drawn from.

The NSSC is the collection of data on students, schools, 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.

The NSSC is a joint undertaking of the various state and territory departments of education, the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), and the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA).

The scope of the collection is bound by the NSSC scope and definitions of schools, students and staff, which is available on request in the NSSC Notes, Instructions and Tabulations (NIT) document.


A part-time student is one who undertakes a workload less than that specified as full-time. The full-time equivalent (FTE) value of a part-time student is calculated by dividing the student's workload into that which is considered to be the minimum full workload for a full-time student by that state or territory. The minimum workload for a full-time student would ensure that the student could complete a given Year in a year.

Methods for estimating the FTE value of part-time students vary between states and territories due to different policy and organisational arrangements.

Age level data for part-time students is available for 2006 onwards.


See ‘Year and School Level’.


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
    • 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. Multiple schools that amalgamate into a single multi-campus school will decrease school counts in this publication.


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.

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. These are referred to as cross-border enrolments.


See ‘Year and School Level’.


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
    • in custody, on remand or in hospital.


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, as at the Census date; continue to be included in staff counts (school vacations are not counted for teaching staff).

Staff who have been, or are expected to be, absent from a position for a period of four or more continuous weeks are excluded. Replacement staff are included if they have, or are expected to, occupy the position for four or more continuous weeks (excluding school vacations for teaching staff).

Included in the definition of staff are:

    • staff teaching evening secondary students attending Secondary Colleges in Tasmania, Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland
    • staff paid from school grant payments
    • staff employed under various Government sponsored employment schemes.
Excluded from the definitions of staff are:
    • 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)
    • persons under the control of the director-general (or equivalent) who satisfy one or more of the following criteria:

        o are cleaners, whether salaried or employed on contract

        o are involved in the management and/or maintenance of boarding or hostel facilities for students

        o are paid from privately raised funds

        o 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

        o are 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 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 school-based subjects, are in the scope of the NSSC, regardless of which Year of schooling these alternative pathways are undertaken. The workload of both the school-based 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 value for part-time students.


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.