The census date for the National Schools Statistics Collection is held the first Friday of August each year. For 2021, the census enrolment reference date was 6 August.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, various restrictions were in place at this time, which may impact on the data.
While the majority of schools across Australia continued as normal, initiatives to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community were put in place, including the implementation of remote online learning where required.
Overall, due to the way the collection counts enrolment it is estimated that the impacts of COVID-19 on the quality of the data were minor. COVID-19 however may have impacted overall school enrolments in 2021, including the reduction in Full Fee Paying Overseas Students (FFPOS) numbers, as shown in the Students section of this publication.
For the collection, a student is a person who is formally (officially) enrolled or registered at a school and who is also active in a primary, secondary or special education program at that school. Students were considered to be active in an education program, even if that program had been temporarily disrupted by COVID-19. Education programs included those that may have been temporarily delivered online or remotely due to COVID-19 disruptions. Students were included even if on census day the school was not delivering education programs due to COVID-19.
Schools which were temporarily closed due to COVID-19 related reasons were considered to be operating for the purposes of the collection. This included schools ceasing operations due to COVID-19 restrictions, with teachers and staff not working, no students attending and no remote learning delivered. Schools were included in the census if, before the restrictions came into effect, they had students who were enrolled and involved in an active course of study, who meet all other eligibility criteria, and who would have otherwise been included in the census.
See Methodology for more information on Schools, Australia 2021.