National Report on Schooling Australia 2012

Schools and schooling

3.2 School numbers

In 2012 there were 9,427 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, 74 per cent of secondary schools and 78 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 half of all combined schools were in the independent sector.

The number and proportion of schools by sector and school category in 2012 is shown in Table 3.2
 

Table 3.2 Number and proportion of schools by sect 

Note: Primary education comprises a pre-Year 1 grade followed by Years 1–6 in NSW, Vic., Tas., NT and ACT. In Qld., SA and WA, primary education comprises a pre-Year 1 grade followed by Years 1–7.

Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2012 See also Additional Statistics, Table 1
 


The proportion of schools in each sector in 2012 is shown in Figure 3.1.

Figure 3.1 Proportion of schools by sector, Austr

Source: ABS, Cat.No. 4221.0, Schools,Australia, 2012

For the number of schools by sector by state and territory 2012 see Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 1.

The total number of schools fell by 1.4 per cent over the period 2008–12. This consisted of falls of 2.0 per cent in the number of government schools and 0.7 per cent in the number of independent schools, which were partially offset by a rise of 0.5 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 shown in Table 3.3.

Table 3.3 Number and proportion of schools by sect 

Source: ABS Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2012

See also Additional Statistics Table 1


Overall, the number of schools, in total and within each sector, has remained stable over recent years. Some caution is required when interpreting time series for numbers of schools, as 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 from year to year.

Figure 3.2 shows the number of schools in each sector over the period 2008–12.

Figure 3.2 Number of schools by sector, Australi77

Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2012

 


¹ As at the National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) census, August 2012