4221.0 - Schools, Australia, 2012 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/02/2013   
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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 self-reported religious or philosophical beliefs and values maintained by the school.

For publication in Schools, Australia 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 is published at the level 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 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.

Apparent Continuation Rate (ACR)

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. See Explanatory Notes for further information.

Apparent Progression Rate (APR)

This measures the proportion of a cohort of full-time students that moves from one Year to the next at an expected rate of progression of one Year a year. See Explanatory Notes for further information.

Apparent Retention Rate (ARR)

This provides an indicative measure of the number of school students who have stayed in school, as at a designated Year 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 a year. See Explanatory Notes for further information.

Estimated Resident Population (ERP)

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 Australian Demographic Statistics, Jun 2012 (cat. no. 3101.0) for further details and Explanatory Notes for further information on how this series is used in Schools, Australia, 2012 (cat. no. 4221.0).

Full-time Student

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.

Full-time Equivalent (FTE) Teaching Staff

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 includes staff at combined schools who are allocated to primary or secondary categories.

All FTE values are rounded to one decimal place.

Grade and School Level

Grade of education comprises Pre-Year 1 through to Year 12, including Ungraded primary and Ungraded secondary.

School Level comprises Primary school and Secondary school.

Variations in schooling structures between the states and territories result in differences in the Years that comprise School level for each state and territory. Variation occurs in the treatment of Year 7, which is the last Year of Primary school or the first Year of Secondary school, depending on the state or territory.

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 for further information on Data Comparability.

Indigenous status

For the purposes of the NSSC a student is classified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin based on information provided by the student, or their parent/guardian, on the school enrolment form.

National School Statistics Collection (NSSC)

The NSSC is the data Schools, Australia draws upon.

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 ABS, and the Standing Committee on School Education and Early Childhood (SCSEEC).

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) and the NSSC Data Collection Manual (DCM) documents. See also Explanatory Notes.

Part-time Student

A part-time student is one who undertakes a workload less than that specified as full-time. The 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 is that which would ensure 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 administrative arrangements.

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

Primary School

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

School Participation Rate (SPR)

This is a measure of the number of school students of a particular age expressed as a proportion of the ERP of the same age. It indicates the proportion of the population by age who are at school. See Explanatory Notes for further information.

Secondary School

See 'Year and School Level'.

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.

Special schools include Special Assistance Schools, as defined under the Schools Assistance Act 2008. These are non-government schools that are:

(a) likely to be recognised by the State Minister as a special assistance school; and

(b) primarily cater for students with social, emotional or behavioural difficulties.


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; and
    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); and
    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
      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. Students may be enrolled at more than one school, however, jurisdictions employ strategies which ensure that, as far as possible, students are reported only once in this collection.

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 '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.

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.