4221.0 - Schools, Australia, 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/03/2011   
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Institutional environment

Data on government and non-government schools are collected from administrative school enrolment databases, collated by the ABS through the non-finance National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC). This collection was established through the work of the former Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). For information on the institutional environment of the ABS, including the legislative obligations of the ABS, which cover this collection, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


This publication contains data on schools, students and in-school staff involved in the provision or administration of primary and secondary education, in government and non-government schools for all Australian states and territories. Schools are classified by level of education (primary, secondary, combined or special); affiliation (government, non-government, Catholic, independent). Students are classified by level and year of education, Indigenous status, full-time or part-time status, age at 1 July, category of school and sex. In-school staff are classified by level of school education, category of school and sex.

Outputs include:

    • Numbers of students
    • Numbers of full-time-equivalent students
    • Numbers of schools
    • Numbers of in-school staff
    • Numbers of full-time equivalent in-school staff
    • Ratio of full-time equivalent students to teaching staff
    • Measures of secondary engagement including apparent retention rates

Comparable statistics are provided for each of the states and territories, and nationally where national data cannot be assumed as the sum of the states and territories.


The NSSC is based on the national school census that is conducted annually on the first Friday in August by each state and territory department of education and the non-government education systems. Information is disseminated between January and March the following year, through the ABS website.


Each school provides information on their enrolments to the relevant state education department. Each state and territory education department processes the data so that data forwarded to the ABS represents student counts and not enrolment counts. Due to the different enrolment systems, the ability to manage multiple records of enrolment may vary among jurisdictions, which may result in over-reporting of school students in some jurisdictions.

The collection of data on students in non-government schools is coordinated through the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.


The NSSC is based on information on each enrolment at the time of the school census.
All data are collected to standard classifications as stated in the NSSC Notes, Instructions and Tabulations Manual (available on request).

Each state and territory government reports on the school, student and staff data that they provide to the NSSC. The state and territory governments also provide the school, student and staff data to the Australian Curriculum Assessment & Reporting Authority (ACARA) for MySchools.

NSSC data is reported through the National Report on Schooling in Australia, National Education Agreement Indicators and the Report on Government Services.

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations report in a variety of ways on non-government school student and staff data that DEEWR provide for the NSSC.

The five-yearly Census of Population and Housing includes information on children attending school.

The ABS Estimated Resident Population (ERP) series is used in the calculation of some measures of secondary engagement in this publication. It is used as a denominator to calculate students as a proportion of the population. 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) for further details.


Schools, Australia contains detailed Explanatory Notes, Appendices and a Glossary that provide information on the data sources, counting rules, terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics. All data are collected to standard classifications as stated in the NSSC Notes, Instructions and Tabulations Manual (available on request).


In addition to the information provided in the publication, a number of time series data cubes providing detailed breakdowns by the various classifications that the data is collected by are available at the time of release of the publication, see Schools, Australia (Cat. No. 4221.0).

If the information you require is not available from the publication or the data cubes then contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.