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This document was added or updated on 17/03/2011.
Across the states and territories over the past 10 years, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have increased the overall number of schools. School numbers increased in these jurisdictions by 22 and 6 respectively. Victoria had the largest overall decrease in school numbers during this period, down 73 schools.
There has been significant change in the government school system over the past decade through initiatives at both the state and commonwealth government level. Such changes have contributed to an apparent decline in the number of government schools. Where a decline in government schools is observed, it should be noted that while some schools have closed, a number have amalgamated resulting in, for example, two schools becoming two campuses of the one school. Including both school closures and school amalgamations, the number of government schools decreased by 81 in Victoria, 62 in Queensland and 42 in South Australia.
In the non-government sector the largest movements in school numbers were in Queensland, where Catholic and Independent school numbers increased by 20 and 26, and in Western Australia and New South Wales, where Independent school numbers increased by 18 and 17 schools respectively.
The proportion of non-government affiliated schools was highest in the ACT and Victoria with 35% and 31% respectively, with Catholic schools making up about two thirds of non-government schools in both jurisdictions. The Northern Territory had the lowest number and proportion of non-government affiliated schools comprising 19% of total schools in that territory.
In 2010 there were 6,357 primary schools, 1,409 secondary schools, 1,286 combined primary/secondary schools, and 416 special schools. Excluding special schools, 70% of schools were primary, 16% were secondary and 14% were combined primary/secondary schools.
In all states and territories, except the Northern Territory, between 63% and 73% of schools were primary schools, while in the Northern Territory this figure was 40%. There was less variability in the proportions of secondary schools throughout the states and territories with the proportion of secondary schools ranging from 11% of schools in Western Australia to 18% of schools in the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales. The Northern Territory had more than twice the proportion of combined schools than the next closest state (Western Australia at 22%) and almost 5 times that of the states with the lowest number of combined schools (NSW and Victoria at about 10%).
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