National Report on Schooling in Australia 2010

Schools and schooling

3.3 Staff

Staff numbers

At the time of the schools census in August 2010, there were 251,422 full-time equivalent (FTE)¹ teaching staff across primary and secondary schooling in Australia. The number of FTE teaching staff by school sector, school level and sex is shown in Table 3.4.

 

Table 3.4     Full-time equivalent (FTE) of teaching staff by school sector, school level and sex, Australia, 2010

 

Primary

Secondary

Total

Sector

Males

 Females

Persons

Males

Females

Persons

Males

Females

Persons

Government

17,267

72,887

90,155

30,329

43,214

73,543

47,596

116,101

163,697

Catholic

3,976

18,236

22,212

10,572

14,607

25,179

14,549

32,843

47,391

Independent

3,568

11,956

15,523

11,115

13,695

24,810

14,683

25,651

40,333

All schools

24,811

103,078

127,890

52,016

71,516

123,532

76,828

174,594

251,422


Notes:

Staff employed in special schools are allocated to either primary or secondary education on a pro-rata basis.

Components may not add to totals due to rounding.

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

Australia’s teaching workforce was predominantly female, with women accounting for 69 per cent of FTE teachers and men making up 31 per cent. This was most pronounced at the primary level where FTE teaching staff was comprised of 81 per cent females and only 19 per cent males. In secondary schooling, the balance between male and female teachers was closer, but females still accounted for 58 per cent of the total.

Across Australia, 65 per cent of FTE teachers were employed by the government school sector, 19 per cent by the Catholic school sector and 16 per cent by the independent sector.
The numbers of FTE teaching staff by school sector from 2006 to 2010 are shown in Table 3.5. Between 2006 and 2010 the total number of FTE teaching staff grew by 4.9 per cent from 239,639 to 251,422. This was made up of a 3.5 per cent increase in government schools and a 7.7 per cent increase in non-government schools.

 

Table 3.5     Full-time equivalent (FTE) of teaching staff by school sector, Australia, 20062010

Sector

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Government

158,194

160,791

161,351

162,566

163,697

Catholic

44,870

45,716

46,390

46,807

47,391

Independent

36,575

37,850

39,366

39,823

40,333

All schools

239,639

244,358

247,106

249,196

251,422


Note: Components may not add to totals due to rounding.

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

See also Additional Statistics Table 3

 

 

Student–teacher ratios

The student–teacher ratio is calculated as the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) students per FTE teaching staff. A lower student–teacher ratio means there is a smaller number of students per teacher. Although there is a relationship between student–teacher ratios and class sizes, ratios are not, by themselves, reliable indicators of class size. Average student–teacher ratios do not take into account the different requirements of different age groups/school years, of special needs students or of different subjects, especially in secondary schools. Nor do they reflect other administrative or specialist duties undertaken by teaching staff. These factors help to explain the consistently higher average student–teacher ratios in primary compared to secondary education.
Table 3.6 summarises average student–teacher ratios in Australia in 2010 across the three school sectors. 

 

Table 3.6     Full-time equivalent (FTE) student–teacher ratios, by sector and school level,  Australia, 2010

Sector

Primary

Secondary

All schools

Government

15.4

12.3

14.0

Catholic

17.6

12.8

15.1

Independent

14.9

10.5

12.2

All schools

15.7

12.0

13.9

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


Nationally, for all schools, the average FTE student–teacher ratio in 2010 was 13.9. For government schools, the ratio was 14.0 and for non-government schools the ratio was 13.7.

For all primary schools in Australia the average FTE student–teacher ratio was 15.7 in 2010. For government primary schools the student–teacher ratio was 15.4 and for non-government primary schools the ratio was 16.5.
For all secondary schools in Australia the student–teacher ratio was 12.0 in 2010. For government secondary schools, the ratio was 12.3 and for non-government secondary schools, the ratio was 11.7.
Between 2006 and 2010 the average student–teacher ratio for all schools decreased from 14.1 to 13.9, as shown in Table 3.7. There were minor declines in the student–teacher ratio for all sectors and levels of schooling except independent primary schools, where the student–teacher ratio rose from 14.4 in 2006 to 14.9 in 2010.

 

Table 3.7     Full-time equivalent (FTE) studentteacher ratios, by sector and level of education, Australia, 200610

School sector and level

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Government primary

15.8

15.7

15.6

15.5

15.4

Government secondary

12.4

12.3

12.3

12.3

12.3

Catholic primary

17.7

17.8

17.6

17.6

17.6

Catholic secondary

12.9

12.8

12.8

12.8

12.8

Independent primary

14.4

14.7

14.7

14.8

14.9

Independent secondary

10.7

10.5

10.5

10.6

10.5

All schools

14.1

14.0

13.9

13.9

13.9


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

 

OECD comparisons

On average, in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries in 2009 (the latest year available), there were 16.0 students for every teacher in primary schools and 13.5 students per teacher at the secondary level. Most, but not all, OECD countries conformed to the pattern of higher ratios for primary than for secondary schooling. Australia’s average student–teacher ratios of 15.8 for primary and 12.0 for secondary were lower than the OECD averages for that year. Ratios for Australia were lower than the United Kingdom (19.9 and 13.7), Japan (18.6 and 13.2) and Germany (17.4 and 14.8) but higher than ratios for Spain (13.3 and 9.8) and Norway (10.7 and 9.7).² A comparison of student–teacher ratios in OECD countries and other Group of 20 nations for 2009 is included in Table 5 in the Additional Statistics section of this report.

 


¹ In the calculation of numbers of full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching staff, a part-time teacher is counted as a proportion of a full-time teacher according to the time spent in teaching activities compared to a full-time teacher in the same school system or school. (See the Glossary of this report for definitions of FTE and teaching staff.)
² Source: OECD, Education at a Glance 2011: OECD Indicators, Table D2.2