4221.0 - Schools, Australia, 2017  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/02/2018   
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In 2017 there were 3,849,225 students enrolled in schools across Australia, representing an increase of 50,999 (1.3%) on the previous year's figure.

Government schools' share of student enrolments increased to 65.6% in 2017, up from 65.4% in 2016. This continued the shift towards government schools observed since 2015. In the 20 years prior to this there was a shift towards non-government schooling.

Graph Image for Proportion of enrolments, by Affiliation, Year

The number of students enrolled across the states and territories are shown in Map 1.

Map of Australia showing student enrolments, by affiliation, state and territories

The Australian Capital Territory and Victoria had the highest annual student growth between 2016 and 2017, of 2.5% and 2.2% respectively. Victoria's increase in student enrolments was the largest in that state over the past 10 years.

Graph Image for Student growth, by State, 2016 to 2017

In 2017 there were 215,453 students enrolled in Australian schools identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. This was 7,601 (3.7%) higher than the 2016 figure. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students comprised 5.6% of all students in 2017 - over the past 10 years this proportion has steadily risen (from 4.4% in 2008), which in part could be due to improvements in the collection of Indigenous Status.

The chart below shows the share of enrolments in each state and territory that are by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. In 2017 the Northern Territory continued to have the largest share (40.2%).

Graph Image for Proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Enrolments, by State, 2017

In 2017 the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students were enrolled in Government schools (83.9%). However, the non-government share of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students has been steadily rising over the past 10 years, from 8.9% in 2008 to 10.4% in 2017 for Catholic schools, and from 5.0% to 5.7% for Independent schools over the same period.

The 2017 National Apparent Retention Rate for all full-time students remaining in school until grade 12 was 84.8%; an increase from 84.3% in 2016. Between 2008 and 2017, the national Apparent Retention Rate for all students rose from 74.6% to 84.8%.

The grade 7 to 12 Apparent Retention Rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students was 62.4% in 2017, up from 59.8% in 2016. This increase in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Apparent Retention Rates is the most significant jump since the rate increased by over 4 percentage points between 2013 and 2014. Over the past 10 years the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander retention rate has increased significantly, from 47.2% in 2008 to 62.4% in 2017.

Graph Image for Grade 7 to 12 Apparent Retention Rate, by Year


In 2017 there were 281,948 full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching staff in Australia, which represents a rise of 5,618 (2%) on the 2016 figure.

Across the states and territories, Victoria reported the largest increase in teaching staff FTE between 2016 and 2017 of 2.7%. In contrast, teaching staff FTE in the Australian Capital Territory fell by 0.7% between 2016 and 2017.

Graph Image for Teaching Staff change, by State, 2016 to 2017


In 2017 there were 9,444 schools in Australia, an increase of 30 schools on the 2016 figure. Victoria and Queensland reported the largest movements in school counts from 2016 to 2017, with an increase of 8 schools reported for each. The increase in school numbers was driven predominantly by growth in Independent schools.


3 087
2 233
1 737
1 088
9 444
3 081
2 225
1 729
1 083
9 414