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Data on students, staff, schools, rates and ratios for government and non-government schools, for all Australian states and territories

Reference period


In 2018:

  • there were 3,893,834 students enrolled in 9,477 schools
  • 65.7% of students were enrolled in government schools, 19.7% in catholic schools and 14.6% in independent schools
  • teachers made up 69.5% of in-school full-time equivalent staff
  • the grade 7 to 12 Apparent Retention Rate for Australia was 84.5%, and
  • the student to teaching staff ratio for all schools and affiliations was 13.5.

Total enrolments have continued to increase in the five years to 2018, with 75.9% of the of the growth occurring in government schools. Table 1 shows these five years of enrolments by the affiliation of the school.

Table 1. Student enrolments by school affiliation, Australia, 2014-2018


Schools in 2018


In 2018 there were 3,893,834 students enrolled in schools across Australia, representing an increase of 44,609 (1.2%) on the previous year’s figure.

Government schools’ share of student enrolments was 65.7% in 2018, similar to their share of 65.6% in 2017. Graph 1 shows the gradual changes in government and non-government enrolments over the twenty years to 2018.

The Australian Capital Territory had the highest rate of non-government school enrolments (39.1% of enrolments), followed by Victoria (36.2%). Northern Territory had the lowest rate at 26.9%.

Map 1. Student enrolment counts by state/territory and affiliation, 2018.

Map 1. Student enrolment counts by state/territory and affiliation, 2018.
A map of Australia showing student enrolment counts by state and territory and affiliation for 2018. Western Australia 280,802 Government student enrolments; 137,317 Non-Government enrolments. Northern Territory 29,765 Government student enrolments; 10,926 Non-Government enrolments. South Australia 174,991 Government student enrolments; 94,379 Non-Government enrolments. Victoria 620,891 Government student enrolments; 352,236 Non-Government enrolments. Tasmania 56,964 Government student enrolments; 24,275 Non-Government enrolments. Australian Capital Territory 43,269 Government student enrolments; 27,738 Non-Government enrolments. New South Wales 798,777 Government student enrolments; 420,795 Non-Government enrolments. Queensland 552,701 Government student enrolments; 267,999 Non-Government enrolments.

Australian Capital Territory and Victoria continued to report the highest annual growth rates of student enrolments in 2018, at 2.3% and 1.9% respectively. Australian Capital Territory and Victoria have led annual student growth rates since 2016.

The Northern Territory student population decreased by 2.4% in 2018, to report similar enrolment levels recorded in 2015.

In 2018, there were 221,982 students enrolled in Australian schools identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. This is 6,529 (3.0%) higher than the 2017 figure. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students made up 5.7% of all students, with the majority enrolled in government schools (83.9%).

Northern Territory had the highest proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at 39.0%. The rest of the states and territories recorded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student enrolments closer to the national rate, ranging from 1.7% in Victoria to 9% in Tasmania.


In 2018, there were 9,477 schools in Australia, an increase of 33 schools since 2017. This included an increase of 17 independent schools, 9 Catholic schools, and 7 government schools.

New South Wales reported the largest annual increase in total school counts (14 schools), followed by Queensland (8 schools) and Western Australia (6 schools).

Table 1. School counts by state/territory, 2017-2018




Teaching staff

In 2018, there were 288,583 full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching staff in Australian schools, representing an increase of 6,524 FTE on the previous year’s figure. This increase in teaching staff was predominantly driven by increases in the government sector, which represented 64.3% of teaching staff in 2018.

Across Australia, the student to teaching staff ratio for all schools was 13.5 in 2018. This continues a slight 10 year downward trend, during which the student to teacher ratio for primary school fell from 15.8 in 2008 to 14.9 in 2018; while the ratio for secondary school remained relatively steady (moving from 12.0 in 2008 to 11.9 in 2018).

Data downloads

Table 32a non-special schools by primary enrolment, 2004-2018

Table 33a non-special schools by secondary enrolment, 2004-2018

Table 35b counts of all schools, 2010-2018

Table 36a non-special schools by enrolment size ranges, 2015-2018

Table 42b number of full-time and part-time students, 2006-2018

Table 43a full-time equivalent students, 2006-2018

Table 46a students (FTE) by ASGS remoteness indicator, 2018

Table 50a in-school staff (number), 2006-2018

Table 51a in-school staff (FTE), 2006-2018

Table 53a student (FTE) to teaching staff (FTE) ratios, 2006-2018

Table 57a out-of-school staff (number and FTE), 2015-2018

Table 62a capped apparent continuation rates, 2011-2018

Table 63a capped apparent retention rates by single year (grade), 2011-2018

Table 64a capped apparent retention rates, 2011-2018

Table 64b capped apparent retention rates (FTE), 2013-2018

Table 66a capped school participation rates for students aged 6-19, 2011-2018

Table 67a consolidated student rates, 2011-2018

Table 90a key information, by states and territories, 2017 to 2018

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