National Report on Schooling in Australia 2012

Student participation

4.1 Enrolment

Enrolment rates

The proportion of children who are enrolled in school is a measure of the reach and coverage of Australian schooling and of the extent to which all students have access to school education. It is specified as a key performance measure (KPM) in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia 2012.

This KPM, specified as the number of students aged 6 to 15 years enrolled in school, expressed as a proportion of the 6 to 15-year-old population, has been retained in the Measurement Framework for 2012 but is no longer a performance indicator within the performance framework of the National Education Agreement (NEA)¹

KPM 1(a) for the period 2008–12 is reported in Table 4.1.

Table 4.1 Number and proportion of children615

(a) 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.
(b) Estimates for the total population are sourced from ABS, Cat. No. 3101.0, Australian Demographic Statistics, 30 June 2013. The Australia total includes 'other territories' including Jervis Bay and Norfolk Island.
(c) ) Estimates for the total population of 6–15-year-olds for 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 have been rebased to the 2011 Census of Population and Housing. As such, these estimates and the proportions of 6–15-year-olds enrolled in schools for these calendar years differ from those published in previous editions of the National Report on Schooling in Australia.
(d) Proportions are calculated using a numerator from the National Schools Statistics Collection and a denominator from Estimated Resident Population data. When developing an indicator using data from different sources, significant data comparability issues can emerge that will affect the accuracy of the indicator. These differences can have unexpected effects such as producing an estimate greater than 100 per cent of the population.

Sources: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2012; ABS, Cat. No. 3101.0, Australian Demographic Statistics, Australian States and Territories, June 2013

See also Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 9


The rate of enrolment in schooling of 6–15-year-olds approximates 100 per cent in each of the five years (2008–12) for which this measure is reported, reflecting the compulsory nature of schooling for this age group.

However, it is acknowledged that the KPM is an approximation, not an exact measure, of the rate of participation in schooling by students of compulsory school age/year level.

First, KPM 1(a) excludes some students for whom schooling is now compulsory. Participation in school education is compulsory for Australian children in all states and territories at least from the age of six until they complete Year 10. Participation full time in some form of education, training or employment, but not necessarily schooling, is mandatory until the age of 17.² The age range specified in KPM 1(a), of 6–15 inclusive (as of 1 July in the reporting year), captures nearly all students of compulsory school age/year level. However, it excludes those students who were 16 and over by midway through the calendar year but had not yet completed Year 10.³

Secondly, the numerator and denominator for KPM 1(a) are drawn from different types of data source. The count of 6–15-year-old school students that forms the numerator of the KPM is administrative data drawn from the annual schools census. The denominator for the 6–15-year-old population is drawn from the Estimated Residential Population (ERP) for this group, which is estimated by projection from the five-yearly Australian Census of Population and Housing. As estimates, ERP figures are subject to error and to periodic revision. As a result, and because of data comparability issues between the two data sets, proportions may exceed 100 per cent.

As noted in footnote (c) of Table 4.1, ERP data for 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 have been rebased from the 2006 Census of Population and Housing to the 2011 Census of Population and Housing. The estimates for the 6–15-year-old population have been adjusted downwards for each of these years, raising the KPM for these years by 1.4, 1.3, 1.1 and 0.8 percentage points respectively from the figures reported in the National Report on Schooling in Australia 2011. As a result, the KPM proportions for 2008, 2009 and 2010 reported in 2012 slightly exceed 100 per cent.

Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 9 reports KPM 1(a) for 2012 by state and territory.

Enrolments by school level and sector

Students in the 6–15 years age group made up 78 per cent of total enrolments in schools. The remaining 22 per cent (approximately 788 thousand students) were either under six or 16 and over at 1 July 2012, the age reference date for the annual schools census of August 2012.

In total, nearly 3.6 million individual students were enrolled in Australian schools in 2012. Of these, approximately 2.1 million (58 per cent) were primary school students and approximately 1.5 million (42 per cent) were secondary school students. This difference is mainly due to schooling structures, in which primary schooling comprises more year groups/cohorts than secondary schooling. The number of students by school level and sector for 2012 are summarised in Table 4.2.


Table 4.2 Number and proportion of students (full-time plus part-time) enrolled in schools by school level and sector, Australia, 2012

Table 4.2 Number and proportion of students3333333

Notes:
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.

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

Senior secondary comprises 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 Part 10: Glossary for definition of special schools.

Percentage columns for each sector show the proportion of students at each level enrolled in that sector. The total percentage row shows the proportion of all students enrolled in each sector. The total percentage column shows the proportions of all students enrolled at each level. Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding.

Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2012 See also Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 10


Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 10 reports the number of students in 2012 by full-time and part-time status 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 (65.2 per cent) of Australian school students in 2012 were enrolled in government schools, approximately one-fifth (20.5 per cent) of students were enrolled in Catholic schools and the remainder (14.2 per cent) attended independent schools.


Figure 4.1 Proportion of students (full-time plus part-time) enrolled in schools by sector, Australia, 2012 (%)

Figure 4.1 Proportion of students-full-time plu222

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

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


However, as shown in Table 4.2, the proportions of students enrolled in each sector differed between levels of education. The proportion of primary students enrolled in government schools (68.9 per cent) was higher than the proportion of junior secondary students (60.1 per cent). The proportion of primary students enrolled in non-government schools (31.1 per cent) was lower than the proportion of junior secondary students (39.9 per cent).

This implies a movement of students from the government to the non-government sectors, particularly between primary and secondary schooling. However, as the movement of individual students between sectors and over time is currently not tracked, it is not clear to what extent this is the net effect of larger student movements among the three sectors. The enrolment of overseas students in independent secondary schools may also contribute to this difference.

The higher proportion of senior secondary students in the independent sector, shown in Table 4.2, is consistent with higher Year 10 to Year 12 apparent retention rates for this sector. Apparent progression rates and apparent retention rates are discussed in Part 4.2: Progression and retention.

As shown in Figure 4.2, more government and Catholic school students were enrolled in primary years than in secondary years, while most independent school students were secondary students.

Figure 4.2 Number of students (full-time plusrrrrr

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


The numbers of students enrolled in all three sectors have risen over the last four years, but with proportionately greater growth in the non-government sectors. Total enrolments in government schools rose by 57,578, in Catholic schools by 39,241 and in independent schools by 36,117. However, the proportion of students enrolled in government schools has fallen by 0.9 percentage points over this period, whereas the proportion of students in independent schools has risen by 0.5 percentage points. The proportion of students enrolled in Catholic schools has risen by 0.3 percentage points. Table 4.3 and Figure 4.3 summarise these data.


Table 4.3 Number and proportion of students enrolled (full-time plus part-time) by school sector, Australia, 2008–12

Sector

 

Government

 

Catholic

Independent

 

Total

 

Year

No.

%

No.

 

%

No.

%

No.

 

%

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

2011

2,315,253

65.4

724,594

20.5

501,962

14.2

3,541,809

100.0

2012

2,342,379

65.2

736,595

20.5

511,012

14.2

3,589,986

100.0

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

Data are drawn from the most recent ABS series and may differ from those in previous publications.

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

See also Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 10


Figure 4.3 Number of students enrolled (full-time plus part-time) by school sector, Australia, 2008–12

Figure 4.3 Number of students enrolled (full-time

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


Data on full-time equivalent (FTE) enrolments by state and territory, by school sector and by level of education, are included in Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 12 and Table 13.

 

 


¹ Enrolment in school was removed as a performance indicator from the performance framework of the revised NEA of July 2012.

² This has applied since the implementation of the National Youth Participation Requirement across all states and territories in 2010. (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, 2012 for a summary of enrolment requirements in each jurisdiction.)

³ The age at which students typically complete Year 10 varies between jurisdictions because of historical
differences in requirements for school commencement, but for most students it is 15 or 16. As at 1 July 2012 (the age reference date for the annual schools census), the average age of Year 10 students ranged from 14.7 years (Qld) to 15.5 years (Tas.), with the Australian average at 15.1 years. In 2012, 22.6 per cent of the Year 10 cohort and 0.6 per cent of the Year 9 cohort were 16 or over at 1 July.

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