National Report on Schooling in Australia 2013

Schools and schooling

3.2 School numbers


In 2013 there were 9,393 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) school sectors. (See Part 10: Glossary for definitions of school levels, types 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 76 per cent of special schools were in the government sector. The Catholic sector accounted for 20 per cent of primary schools and 22 per cent of secondary schools, while 50 per cent of all combined schools were in the independent sector.

The number and proportion of schools by school type and school sector in 2013 is shown in table 3.2 and figure 3.1.


Table 3.2 Number and proportion(a) of schools by school type and school sector, Australia, 2013

Table 3.2 Number and proportion(a) of schools by school type and school sector, Australia, 2013

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.

(a) Proportion of all schools

Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2013.

See also Additional statistics, table 1.


Figure 3.1. Proportion of schools by sector, Australia, 2013

Figure 3.1. Proportion of schools by sector, Australia, 2013


Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2013

For the number of schools by school type and school sector by state and territory 2013, see Part 9: Additional statistics, table 1.

The total number of schools in Australia fell from 9,427 in 2012 to 9,393 in 2013, a net fall of 34. This continued a trend in recent years, driven mainly by school amalgamations 2.

School numbers have fallen by 136 (1.4 per cent) over the period 2009–2013. This was made up of falls of 2.1 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 0.7 per cent in the number of Catholic schools. The numbers and proportions of schools in the three sectors within this period are shown in table 3.3 and figure 3.2.

Table 3.3 Number and proportion of schools by school sector, Australia, 2009–2013

Table 3.3 Number and proportion of schools by school sector, Australia, 2009–2013


Source: ABS Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2013

See also Additional statistics, table 1



Figure 3.2. Number of schools by school sector, Australia, 2009–2013

Figure 3.2. Number of schools by school sector, Australia, 2009–2013


Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2013.

Some caution is required when interpreting time series for numbers of schools, as changes from year to year may be due to administrative or structural changes in school systems or individual schools, as much as to changes in school populations. For example, primary schools and secondary schools may be amalgamated to create combined schools or secondary schools may be split to create separate junior and senior secondary schools.

 

National Report on Schooling in Australia 2013

Schools and schooling

3.3 Student numbers

Enrolments by school level and sector


In total, nearly 3.65 million individual students were enrolled in Australian schools in 2013. Of these, approximately 2.13 million (58.4 per cent) were primary school students, and approximately 1.52 million (41.6 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 2013 are summarised in table 3.4.

Table 3.4 Number and proportion of students (full-time plus part-time) enrolled in schools by school level and school sector, Australia, 2013

Table 3.4 Number and proportion of students (full-time plus part-time) enrolled in schools by school level and school sector, Australia, 2013


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, 2013.

See also Part 9: Additional statistics, table 10.


Part 9: Additional statistics, table 10 reports the number of students in 2013 by full-time and part-time status, and by state and territory, as well as by school level and sector.

As shown in table 3.4 and figure 3.3, almost two-thirds (65.2 per cent) of Australian school students in 2013 were enrolled in government schools, approximately one-fifth (20.5 per cent) of students were enrolled in Catholic schools and the remainder (14.3 per cent) attended independent schools.

Figure 3.3 Proportion of students (full-time plus part-time) enrolled in schools by sector, Australia, 2013 (%)

Figure 3.3 Proportion of students (full-time plus part-time) enrolled in schools by sector, Australia, 2013 (%)


Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2013.


However, as shown in table 3.4, the proportions of students enrolled in each school sector differed between levels of education. The proportion of primary students enrolled in government schools (69.0 per cent) was higher than the proportion of junior secondary students (59.8 per cent). The proportion of primary students enrolled in non-government schools (31.0 per cent) was lower than the proportion of junior secondary students (40.2 per cent).

This implies a movement of students from the government to the non-government sectors, probably 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 3.4, is consistent with higher Year 10–12 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 3.4, more government and Catholic school students were enrolled in primary years than in secondary years, while most independent school students were secondary students.

Figure 3.4 Number of students (full-time plus part-time) enrolled by school level and sector, Australia, 2013

Figure 3.4 Number of students (full-time plus part-time) enrolled by school level and sector, Australia, 2013

Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2013


The numbers of students enrolled in Australian schools grew by 160,715 in the period 2009–2013 and by 55,533 between 2012 and 2013. Enrolments in all three school sectors have risen over the last four years, with growth in enrolments split evenly between government and non-government schools. Growth has been proportionately higher in the non-government sectors, leading to a slight shift in the proportions of total enrolments per school sector over the period 2009–2013, but with little change since 2011. Table 3.5 and figure 3.5 summarise these data.


Table 3.5 Number and proportion of students (full-time plus part-time) by school sector, Australia, 2009–2013

Table 3.5 Number and proportion of students (full-time plus part-time) by school sector, Australia, 2009–2013


Notes:

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, 2013

See also Part 9: Additional statistics, table 10."


Figure 3.5 Number of students enrolled (full-time plus part-time) by school sector, Australia, 2009–13

Figure 3.5 Number of students enrolled (full-time plus part-time) by school sector, Australia, 2009–13


Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2013


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 As at the National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) census, August 2013.

2 ABS, Schools Australia 2013, Summary.

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