National Report on Schooling in Australia 2010

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education

7.3 Attendance (First Page)

Within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan 2010–2014 the domain ‘attendance’ includes targets and performance indicators, not only for attendance rates but also for enrolment, for progression from one secondary school year level or grade to the next and for retention from Year 7/8 to Years 10 and 12.

Enrolment

The proportion of children of compulsory school age who are enrolled in school is a measure of the reach and coverage of Australian schooling. It is specified as a performance indicator for schooling in the National Education Agreement and is a Key Performance Measure (KPM) in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia.
 
This measure, specified as the number of students aged six to 15 years enrolled in school, expressed as a proportion of the six to 15-year-old population, is reported in Table 7.1 disaggregated by Indigenous status.
 
The measure is also specified as an indicator in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan 2010–2014. 

 

Key Performance Measure 7(a)

The number of students aged six to 15 years enrolled in school, expressed as a proportion of the six to 15-year-old population

  Table 7.1        Number and proportion of children aged 6 to 15 years enrolled in school(a)(b) by Indigenous  status(c), 2008–10

 

Unit

     Australia

Indigenous children

 

2008

2009

2010

Total 6 to 15-year-old population

no.

130,061

129,733

129,308

Number of children aged 6 to15 years enrolled in school

no.

126,934

129,953

133,990

Proportion of 6 to 15-year-old population enrolled in school

%

97.6

100.2

103.6

Non-Indigenous children

     


Total 6 to 15-year-old population

no.

2,644,873

2,653,266

2,657,227

Number of children aged 6 to 15 years enrolled in school

no.

2,612,271

2,618,783

2,621,903

Proportion of 6 to 15-year-old population enrolled in school

%

98.8

98.7

98.7

All children

     

 

Total 6 to 15-year-old population

no.

2,774,934

2,782,999

2,786,535

Number of children aged 6 to 15 years enrolled in school

no.

2,739,205

2,748,736

2,755,893

Proportion of 6 to 15-year-old population enrolled in school

%

98.7

98.8

98.9

 

(a) There are several factors influencing the reason why the proportion of students relative to the population can exceed 100%. In particular for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, analysis has shown this population has a higher dual-enrolment occurrence across multiple schools, government and non-government sectors and jurisdictions, which would impact on the percentages represented. Data includes children enrolled full-time or part-time. Jervis Bay enrolments are included with ACT; Norfolk Island enrolments are included with NSW. 'Other territory' enrolments are excluded. 

(b) Estimates for the total population are sourced from the most recently available ABS, Cat. No. 3201.0, Population by Age and Sex, 30 June 2010. The Australia total includes 'other territories' including Jervis Bay and Norfolk Island.

(c) Non-Indigenous estimates are available for census years only. In the intervening years, Indigenous population figures are derived from assumptions about past and future levels of fertility, mortality and migration. In the absence of non-Indigenous population figures for these years, it is possible to derive denominators for calculating non-Indigenous rates by subtracting the Indigenous population from the total population. Such figures have a degree of uncertainty and should be used with caution, particularly as the time from the base year of the projection series increases. Information on non-sampling error that may affect the population data is available from ABS, Cat. No. 3201.0, Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories, June 2010, Quality Declaration Summary. There is also some variability in the reporting of Indigenous status across jurisdictional education providers, particularly in relation to ‘not stated’ responses. This may result in some under-reporting of Indigenous status; see Appendix 2: Collection of Indigenous Status of Students, in ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2009.
 

Sources: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2010, data cube NSSC Table 42b: Full-time and part-time students 2006–2010; ABS, Cat. No. 3201.0, Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories, June 2010; ABS, Cat. No. 3238.0, Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians 1991–2021

 
 
Additional Statistics Table 37 reports KPM 7(a) by State and Territory.
 
The footnotes for Table 7.1 and Additional Statistics Table 37 note a number of factors affecting the reliability of enrolment data expressed as a proportion of the population, especially for Indigenous students and in small jurisdictions. Because of these factors, these data should be interpreted with caution. 
 

Table 7.2        Number and proportion of Indigenous students (full-time and part-time) enrolled in schools by school level
                        and sector(a)(b)(c)(d), 2010

Sector

 

Government

Catholic

Independent

Total

 

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

Primary

90,139

87.8

8,886

8.7

3,607

3.5

102,632

63.0

Junior secondary

37,227

81.8

4,636

10.2

3,673

8.1

45,536

28.0

Senior secondary

11,588

79.0

1,678

11.4

1,397

9.5

14,663

9.0

Total secondary

48,815

81.1

6,314

10.5

5,070

8.4

60,199

37.0

Total

138,954

85.3

15,200

9.4

8,677

5.3

162,831

100.0

 

(a) Primary education comprises a pre-Year 1 grade followed by Years 1 to 6 in NSW, Vic., Tas., NT and ACT. In Qld, SA and WA, primary education comprises a pre-Year 1 grade followed by Years 1 to 7.
 
(b) Junior secondary is the years from commencement of secondary school to Year 10, including ungraded secondary.
 
(c) Senior secondary includes Years 11 and 12.
 
(d) Students attending special schools are allocated to either primary or secondary school on the basis of grade or school level where identified. Where the grade or school level is not identified, students are allocated to primary or secondary level of education according to the typical age level in each State or Territory. See Glossary for definition of special schools.
 
Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2010
 

 

 
 

Additional Statistics Table 38 reports individual enrolments by Indigenous status in 2010 by full-time and part-time and by State and Territory as well as by school level and sector.

In 2010, 85.3 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students were enrolled in government schools, 9.4 per cent were enrolled in Catholic schools and 5.3 per cent were enrolled in independent schools.

This compares to 65.6 per cent, 20.3 per cent and 14.0 per cent respectively for all students, as reported in the Student engagement – enrolment part of this report, demonstrating the higher concentration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in the government sector.
 
Figure 7.1       Proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students (full-time and part-time) enrolled by school sector,
                         Australia, 2010 (%)
Figure 71Proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strai

Source:
ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2010  
 
 

Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in government schools in 2010 were primary school students whereas the majority (58 per cent) enrolled in independent schools were secondary students.
 

Figure 7.2       Number of Indigenous students enrolled by school level and sector, Australia, 2010
Figure 72 Number of Indigenous students enrolled b


Source:
ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2010  

 
 

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in all three sectors has risen over the last five years. The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in government schools has fallen slightly over this period, while the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in the non-government sector has risen. Table 7.3 and Figure 7.3 summarise these data.

 
 

Table 7.3        Number of Indigenous students (full-time and part-time) enrolled by sector, Australia, 2006–10

 

 

Sector

 

 

 

Government

Catholic

Independent

Total

 

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

2010

138,954

85.3

15,200

9.3

8,677

5.3

162,831

100.0

2009

134,326

85.7

14,270

9.1

8,090

5.2

156,686

100.0

2008

131,428

86.1

13,536

8.9

7,644

5.0

152,608

100.0

2007

128,471

86.6

12,951

8.7

6,990

4.7

148,412

100.0

2006

122,872

86.7

12,074

8.5

6,749

4.8

141,695

100.0


Source: 
ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2010

See also Additional Statistics Table 38

 

Figure 7.3       Number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled by school sector, Australia, 200610
Figure 73 Number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait I

Source:
ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2010
 
 

Attendance

KPM 7(b) in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia is defined as:
 
The number of actual full-time equivalent student-days attended by full-time students in Years 1 to 10 as a percentage of the total number of possible student-days attended over the period.
 
This is also the performance indicator for attendance adopted in the National Education Agreement (NEA) and for reporting attendance rates in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan 2010–2014 2010 Annual Report.
 
However, because the definitions and methodologies used by jurisdictions and sectors to collect the 2010 (and previous years) data are not uniform, accurate comparisons between jurisdictions and sectors cannot currently be made. Data can be compared within a sector, within a jurisdiction over time. All States and Territories and the non-government sectors are collaborating to standardise their collections in cooperation with the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).
 
Further care should be exercised in relation to student attendance data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students due to low student numbers in some jurisdictions and sectors.
 
Tables 42, 43 and 44 in the Additional Statistics section of this report show 2010 student attendance data by:
  • Indigenous status

  • school sector

  • State and Territory

  • year level.

Tables 42, 43 and 44 depict data for the government, Catholic and independent sectors respectively. The comments below for each sector refer to the data in these tables and the corresponding tables in the 2007, 2008 and 2009 publications of the National Report on Schooling in Australia. The comments should be read in conjunction with these tables and with the Explanatory notes for the 2010 student attendance data.
 
In 2010 the generally higher rate of attendance for non-Indigenous students compared to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students continued.

Government school sector

For the 2010 collection period the Tasmanian government schools had the smallest gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and non-Indigenous students where for Years 1–7 the difference did not exceed three percentage points for any year level.
 
Between 2009 and 2010 the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous student attendance rates was maintained or reduced in some States and Territories for some grade levels: for Years 1–8 in New South Wales; for Years 1–7 and 9 in Victoria; for Years 1–10 in Queensland; for Years 1–6 and 10 in South Australia; Years 1–9 in Western Australia; for Years 1–5, 7 and 9–10 in Tasmania; for Year 1 in the Northern Territory and for Years 1, 3, 6–7 and 9 in the Australian Capital Territory.
 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander attendance rates did not equal or exceed those of non-Indigenous students in any year level for the government sector in 2010.
 
For the 2010 collection period student attendance rates were at or above 90 per cent for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students for Years 1–5 in New South Wales; for Year 1 in Victoria; for Years 1–7 in Tasmania and for Year 3 in the Australian Capital Territory.
 
Generally for the 2010 collection period student attendance rates averaged at or above 80 per cent for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students across government schools, with the exception of Years 9 and 10 in New South Wales and Queensland; Years 8, 9 and 10 in South Australia, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory; and Years 1–10 in the Northern Territory.

Catholic school sector

In general for the 2010 collection period, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student attendance rates in Catholic schools were lower than for non-Indigenous students. For Year 9 in South Australia and for Years 3 and 5 in the Australian Capital Territory, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander attendance rates equalled or exceeded those of non-Indigenous students.
 
For the 2010 collection period South Australia (for Years 1–4, 6–7 and 9) and the Australian Capital Territory (for Years 1 and 3–7) Catholic schools had the smallest gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and non-Indigenous students where the difference did not exceed three percentage points.
 
Between the 2009 and 2010 student attendance collection periods some States and Territories maintained or reduced the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous student attendance rates: for Years 1–10 in New South Wales; for Years 5–7 and 9 in Victoria; for Years 1–4 and Years 7–9 in Queensland; for Years 1, 6–9 in South Australia; for Years 1–7 and 9–10 in Western Australia; for Years 1, 6 and 8–10 in the Northern Territory and Years 1–7 and 9 in the Australian Capital Territory.
 
For the 2010 collection period student attendance rates averaged at or above 90 per cent for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Catholic schools for Years 1–2, 5 and 7 in New South Wales; for Years 2–3, 5–6 in Victoria; for Years 1–4 and 6–9 in Queensland; for Years 1–7 and 9 in South Australia; for Years 1–5, 7–8 and 10 in Tasmania; and for Years 1 and 3–7 in the Australian Capital Territory.
 
Generally for the 2010 collection period student attendance rates averaged at or above 80 per cent for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students across all Catholic schools, with the exception of Years 1 and 2 in Western Australia and Years 1–10 in the Northern Territory.

Independent school sector

In general for 2010, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student attendance rates in independent schools were lower than for non-Indigenous students. For Year 1 in Victoria, Years 7–8 in South Australia, Year 5 in Tasmania and Year 1 in the Australian Capital Territory, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander attendance rates equalled or exceeded those of non-Indigenous students.
 
For the 2010 collection period Tasmanian independent schools had the smallest gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and non-Indigenous students where, for Years 2–9, the difference did not exceed three percentage points.
 
Between the 2009 and 2010 student attendance collection periods some States and Territories maintained or reduced the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous student attendance rates: for Years 2, 5 and 8–9 in New South Wales; for Years 1–3, 7 and 9 in Victoria; for Years 1–10 in Queensland; for Years 3–10 in South Australia; for Years 1, 3, 5–7 and 9 in Western Australia; for Years 5–6 and 8 in Tasmania; for Years 1, 4–7 and 9–10 in the Northern Territory and for Years 1–2, 8 and 10 in the Australian Capital Territory.
 
For the 2010 collection period student attendance rates averaged at or above 90 per cent for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in independent schools for Years 2 and 4–6 in New South Wales; for Years 1–6 and 9 in Victoria; for Years 3–5 and 7 in Queensland; for Years 5–10 in South Australia; for Years 1–9 in Tasmania; for Years 9–10 in the Northern Territory; and for Years 1, 3 and 5 in the Australian Capital Territory.
 

Generally for the 2010 collection period student attendance rates averaged at or above 80 per cent for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students across all independent schools, with the exception of Year 10 in New South Wales, Years 8 and 10 in Western Australia, Years 1–4 and 6 in the Northern Territory, and Years 5 and 7–8 in the Australian Capital Territory. 

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