National Report on Schooling in Australia 2010

Student engagement

4.1 Enrolment

The proportion of children of compulsory school age who are enrolled in school is a basic 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 4.1.
 

Key Performance Measure 7(a)
Proportion of children aged 6 to 15 years who are enrolled in school

Table 4.1        Number and proportion of children aged 6 to 15 years enrolled in school

 

2008

2009

2010

Population, Australia (6 to 15 years)(a)

2,774,934

2,782,999

2,786,535

School enrolments, Australia (6 to 15 years)(b)

2,739,205

2,748,736

2,755,893

Proportion of 6 to 15-year-olds enrolled in school, Australia (%)

98.7

98.8

98.9


(a) 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 Australian total includes 'other territories' including Jervis Bay and Norfolk Island.

(b) School data include students who cross State and Territory boundaries to attend school. Includes children enrolled full-time or part-time. Jervis Bay enrolments and Norfolk Island enrolments are included. 'Other territory' enrolments are excluded.

Sources: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2010; ABS, Cat. No. 3201.0, Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories, June 2010

See also Additional Statistics Table 9

 

Although there is some variation between specific enrolment requirements in States and Territories, schooling is compulsory in all jurisdictions for children from the age of six until at least the age of 15¹. As a result, enrolment rates for six to 15-year-olds are close to 100 per cent. (See Table 3.1: Primary and secondary school structures, minimum age of commencement for Year 1 and minimum school leaving age by State and Territory, 2010 for details of differences in enrolment requirements between jurisdictions.)

Additional Statistics Table 9 reports this KPM by State and Territory.

Students in the six to 15 years age group made up 78.5 per cent of total enrolments. A further 755,000 students were either under six or 16 and over at the time of the schools census in August 2010. In total, just over 3.5 million individual students were enrolled in Australian schools in 2010. Of these, approximately 2 million were primary school students and approximately 1.5 million were secondary school students. This difference was mainly due to schooling structures, in which primary schooling comprises more year groups/cohorts than secondary schooling, but also reflects the compulsory nature of primary school from Year 1. Individual enrolments by school level and sector for 2010 are summarised in Table 4.2. 

 

Table 4.2        Number and proportion of individual students (full-time plus part-time) enrolled in schools by school level and sector, Australia, 2010

 

Sector

 
 

Government

Catholic

Independent

Total

School level

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

Primary

1,392,938

69.1

390,831

19.4

231,248

11.5

2,015,017

57.4

 

Junior secondary

618,961

61.1

222,002

21.9

172,276

17.0

1,013,239

28.9

 

Senior secondary

292,360

60.6

101,078

20.9

89,181

18.5

482,619

13.7

Total secondary

911,321

60.9

323,080

21.6

261,457

17.5

1,495,858

42.6

Total

2,304,259

65.6

713,911

20.3

492,705

14.0

3,510,875

100.0


Notes:

Primary education comprises a pre-Year 1 grade followed by Years 1 to 6 in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. In Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, primary education comprises a pre-Year 1 grade followed by Years 1 to 7.

Junior secondary comprises the years from commencement of secondary school to Year 10, including ungraded secondary.

Senior secondary includes Years 11 and 12.

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.

Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding.

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

See also Additional Statistics Table 10

Additional Statistics Table 10 reports individual enrolments in 2010 by full time and part time and by State and Territory as well as by school level and sector.

As shown in Table 4.2 and Figure 4.1, almost two-thirds (65.6 per cent) of Australian school students in 2010 were enrolled in government schools, approximately one-fifth (20.3 per cent) of students were enrolled in Catholic schools and the remainder (14.0 per cent) attended independent schools.

 

Figure 4.1             Proportion of individual students (full-time plus part-time) enrolled in schools by sector, Australia, 2010 (%)

NRS 2010 - Figure 4.1

Note: Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding.
Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2010
 
As also shown in Table 4.2, the proportion of students enrolled in government schools in 2010 was higher for primary than secondary students, while the reverse was true for independent schools. This suggests some movement of students from the government to the independent sector, most probably between primary and secondary schooling. However, as the movement of individual students between schools is not currently tracked, it is not clear to what extent this is the net effect of larger student movements among all three sectors. The higher proportion of senior secondary students in the independent sector is consistent with higher apparent Year 10 to 12 retention rates for this sector.
The number of individual students enrolled by school level and sector in 2010 is also shown in Figure 4.2.

Figure 4.2             Number of individual students (full-time plus part-time) enrolled by school level and sector, Australia, 2010

 NRS 2010 - Figure 4.2

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

The numbers of individual students enrolled in all three sectors have risen over the last five years. The proportion of students enrolled in government schools has fallen slightly over this period, whereas the proportion of students in independent schools has risen. The proportion of students enrolled in Catholic schools has remained relatively stable. Table 4.3 and Figure 4.3 summarise these data.

 
  

Table 4.3        Number and proportion of individual students enrolled (full-time plus part-time) by school sector, Australia, 200610

 

Sector

 

 

Government

Catholic

Independent

Total

Year

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

2006

2,270,606

66.9

679,935

20.0

442,711

13.0

3,393,252

100.0

2007

2,290,443

66.6

691,557

20.1

459,026

13.3

3,441,026

100.0

2008

2,284,801

66.1

697,354

20.2

474,895

13.7

3,457,050

100.0

2009

2,294,638

65.8

704,837

20.2

485,329

13.9

3,484,804

100.0

2010

2,304,259

65.6

713,911

20.3

492,705

14.0

3,510,875

100.0


Note:
Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding.

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

See also Additional Statistics Table 10

 

Figure 4.3            Number of individual students enrolled (full-time plus part-time) by school sector, Australia, 2006–10

NRS 2010 - Figure 4.3 

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

 
 

Data on full-time equivalent (FTE) enrolments by State and Territory, by school sector and by level of education, are included in Additional Statistics Table 12 and Table 13.

 


¹ From 2010, 15 and 16-year-olds in all Australian States and Territories are subject to a requirement to participate in full-time education, training or employment, or a combination of these activities until the age of 17. This requirement can be met by enrolment in schooling but can also be satisfied through participation in other training and employment pathways.