4221.0 - Schools, Australia, 2012 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/03/2013   
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Between 2011 and 2012, the number of schools in Australia fell slightly, from 9,435 to 9,427. The net fall of 8 was the result of the number of government schools decreasing by 8 from 6,705 to 6,697, the number of Catholic schools increasing by 3 from 1,710 to 1,713, and the number of Independent schools decreasing by 3 from 1,020 to 1,017. It should be noted that a reduction in the number of schools can result from school amalgamations and does not necessarily indicate school closures.

Across the states and territories, movements in school numbers ranged from a fall of 15 in New South Wales to a rise of 7 in both Queensland and Tasmania.

At the Australia level, the number of primary schools fell by 22, while the number of secondary schools fell by 6. The number of combined schools rose by 16 and the number of special schools rose by 4. Primary schools comprised over two-thirds (66.7%) of all schools in Australia in 2012. Secondary schools made up 14.8%, combined schools 14%, and special schools 4.5%.

The number of combined schools rose in all sectors, from 504 to 511 in the government sector, from 148 to 154 in the Catholic sector, and from 641 to 657 in the Independent sector. These figures continue the long-term rise in combined schools which has seen their numbers increase from 1,051 in 2001 to 1,322 in 2012, a rise of 25.8%. During the same period, the number of primary schools fell by 397 (5.9%), while secondary schools fell by 84 (5.7%). Combined schools were most prevalent in the Independent sector, where they comprised almost two-thirds (64.6%) of schools.

In 2012, the majority of Australia’s 9,427 schools were in the government sector (71%). The Catholic and Independent sectors accounted for 18.2% and 10.8% respectively of Australia's schools. Almost one-third (32.7%) of all schools were in NSW, while almost a quarter (23.7%) were in Victoria.

Within the states and territories, the ACT had the highest proportion of Catholic schools, where almost one quarter (23.4%) of all schools were Catholic, followed by Victoria, where 21.8% of all schools were Catholic. The state with the highest proportion of Independent schools was Western Australia (13.2%), closely followed by South Australia (12.3%).