National Report on Schooling in Australia 2011

Schools and schooling

3.2 School numbers

In 2011 there were 9,435 schools in Australia.¹ This total included primary, secondary, combined (primary and secondary) and special schools, across government (71 per cent) and non-government (29 per cent) sectors. (See Part 10: Glossary for definitions of school levels and sectors.)

Of the total number of schools, 71 per cent were administered by State and Territory governments, 18 per cent identified as having Catholic affiliation and 11 per cent were classified as independent. Most independent schools provide a religious-based education or promote a particular educational philosophy.

Seventy-seven per cent of primary schools, 73 per cent of secondary schools and 79 per cent of schools for students with special needs were in the government sector. The Catholic sector accounted for 20 per cent of primary schools and 22 per cent of secondary schools while just over half of all combined schools were in the independent sector.

The number and proportion of schools by sector and school category in 2011 is shown in Table 3.2.


Table 3.2 Number and proportion of schools by sector and school category, Australia, 2011

School sector
School category
Government
Catholic
Independent
Total
No.
%
No.
%
No.
%
No.
%
Primary
4,847
51.4
1,231
13.0
234
2.5
6,312
66.9
Secondary
1,023
10.8
305
3.2
68
0.7
1,396
14.8
Combined
504
5.3
148
1.6
653
6.9
1,305
13.8
Special
331
3.5
26
0.3
65
0.7
422
4.5
Total
6,705
71.1
1,710
18.1
1,020
10.8
9,435
100.0

Note: Primary education comprises a pre-Year 1 grade followed by Years 1 to 6 in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, NT and ACT. In Queensland, SA and WA, primary education comprises a pre-Year 1 grade followed by Years 1 to 7.

Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2011

See also Additional Statistics Table 1

The proportion of schools in each sector in 2011 is shown in Figure 3.1.

Figure 3.1 Proportion of schools by sector, Australia, 2011

Figure 3.1_Proportion_of_schools_by_sector_Australia_2011

Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2011

For the number of schools by sector by State and Territory 2011 see Additional Statistics Table 1.

The total number of schools fell by 1.5 per cent over the period 2007–11. This resulted from falls of 2.1 per cent in the number of government schools and 0.5 per cent in the number of independent schools, which were partially offset by a rise of 0.4 per cent in the number of Catholic schools. This is reflected in a slight change in the proportions of schools in the three sectors within this period, as shown in Table 3.3.


Table 3.3 Number and proportion of schools by sector, Australia, 200711

School sector

Year

Government

Catholic

Independent

Total

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

2007

6,851

71.5

1,703

17.8

1,025

10.7

9,579

100.0

2008

6,833

71.5

1,705

17.8

1,024

10.7

9,562

100.0

2009

6,802

71.4

1,705

17.9

1,022

10.7

9,529

100.0

2010

6,743

71.2

1,708

18.0

1,017

10.7

9,468

100.0

2011

6,705

71.1

1,710

18.1

1,020

10.8

9,435

100.0


Source: ABS Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2011

See also Additional Statistics Table 1

Caution is required when interpreting time series for numbers of schools. The number of schools from year to year may vary because of structural changes in individual schools or groups of schools. For example: several schools at the same level of education may be amalgamated; primary schools and secondary schools may merge to create combined schools; secondary schools may split to create junior and senior secondary schools. Each of these scenarios may affect the number of schools reported year to year.

Figure 3.2 shows the number of schools in each sector over the period 2007–11.

Figure 3.2 Number of schools by sector, Australia, 2007–11

Figure 3.2_Number_of_schools_by_sector_Australia

Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2011