National Report on Schooling in Australia 2011

Schools and schooling

3.3 Staff

Staff numbers

At the time of the schools census in August 2011, there were 255,110 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, 2011

Primary

Secondary

Total

Sector

Males

Females

Persons

Males

Females

Persons

Males

Females

Persons

Government

17,424

74,398

91,821

30,025

43,426

73,451

47,448

117,824

165,272

Catholic

4,004

18,677

22,681

10,790

14,921

25,712

14,794

33,599

48,393

Independent

3,759

12,337

16,096

11,251

14,099

25,350

15,010

26,436

41,445

Total non-government

7,763

31,014

38,777

22,041

29,020

51,061

29,804

60,034

89,838

All schools

25,186

105,412

130,598

52,066

72,446

124,512

77,252

177,858

255,110

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, 2011

See also Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 2 and Table 3

Australia’s teaching workforce was predominantly female, with women accounting for 70 per cent of FTE teachers and men making up 30 per cent. This was most pronounced at the primary level where FTE teaching staff was made up 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 2007 to 2011 are shown in Table 3.5. Between 2007 and 2011 the total number of FTE teaching staff grew by 10,752 or 4.4 per cent. The rise in teaching staff numbers was concentrated in non-government schools with 6,271 additional teachers (a rise of 7.5 per cent) compared to 4,481 (an increase of 2.8 per cent) in government schools.

Table 3.5 Full-time equivalent (FTE) of teaching staff by school sector, Australia, 200711

Sector

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Government

160,791

161,351

162,566

163,697

165,272

Catholic

45,716

46,390

46,807

47,391

48,393

Independent

37,850

39,366

39,823

40,333

41,445

Total non-government

83,567

85,755

86,630

87,724

89,838

All schools

244,358

247,106

249,196

251,422

255,110

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

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. However, while lower student–teacher ratios would tend to allow smaller 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 schooling.

Table 3.6 summarises average student–teacher ratios in Australia in 2011 across the three school sectors.


Table 3.6 Full-time equivalent (FTE) student–teacher ratios, by sector and school level, Australia, 2011

Sector

Primary

Secondary

All schools

Government

15.3

12.2

13.9

Catholic

17.5

12.8

15.0

Independent

14.8

10.4

12.1

Total non-government

16.4

11.6

13.6

All schools

15.6

12.0

13.8

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

For all Australian schools, the average FTE student–teacher ratio in 2011 was 13.8, with little overall difference between government schools (13.9) and non-government schools (13.6). However, within the non-government sector, student–teacher ratios were noticeably lower in independent schools.

Across all primary schools in 2011 the average FTE student–teacher ratio was 15.6 compared to 12.0 for secondary schools, and there were higher ratios for primary than secondary schools in all three sectors. Overall, the student–teacher ratio was lower in government primary schools than non-government primary schools but higher in government than non-government secondary schools.

As shown in Table 3.7, the average student–teacher ratio across all schools decreased from 14.0 students per teacher in 2007 to 13.8 students per teacher in 2011. Ratios fell or remained constant in all sectors and levels of schooling over this period except in independent primary schools, where the average student–teacher ratio rose marginally from 14.7 to 14.8.


Table 3.7 Full-time equivalent (FTE) studentteacher ratios, by sector and level of education, Australia, 200711

School sector and level

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Government primary

15.7

15.6

15.5

15.4

15.3

Government secondary

12.3

12.3

12.3

12.3

12.2

Catholic primary

17.8

17.6

17.6

17.6

17.5

Catholic secondary

12.8

12.8

12.8

12.8

12.8

Independent primary

14.7

14.7

14.8

14.9

14.8

Independent secondary

10.5

10.5

10.6

10.5

10.4

All schools

14.0

13.9

13.9

13.9

13.8

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

International comparisons

On average, in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries in 2010 (the latest year available), there were 15.9 students for every teacher in primary schools and 13.8 students per teacher at the secondary level. Most, but not all, OECD countries conformed to the pattern of higher student–teacher ratios for primary than for secondary schooling. Australia’s average student–teacher ratios of 15.7 for primary and 12.0 for secondary were lower than the OECD averages. Ratios for Australia were lower than the United Kingdom (19.8 and 16.0), Japan (18.4 and 13.2) and Germany (16.7 and 14.4) but higher than ratios for Spain (13.2 and 9.9) and Norway (10.5 and 9.7).² A comparison of student–teacher ratios in OECD countries and other Group of 20 nations for 2010 is included as Table 5 in Part 9: Additional Statistics.


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 Part 10: Glossary for definitions of FTE and teaching staff.)

² Source: OECD, Education at a Glance 2012: OECD Indicators, Table D2.2