National Report on Schooling in Australia 2013

Schools and schooling

3.4 Staff

Staff numbers


In 2013 there were 261,585 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 3.6.


Table 3.6 Full-time equivalent (FTE) of teaching staff by school sector, school level and sex, Australia, 2013

Table 3.6 Full-time equivalent (FTE) of teaching staff by school sector, school level and sex, Australia, 2013


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, 2013

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. The difference 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 59 per cent of the total.

Across Australia, 64.2 per cent of FTE teachers were employed by the government school sector, 19.3 per cent by the Catholic school sector and 16.5 per cent by the independent sector.

The numbers of FTE teaching staff by school sector from 2009 to 2013 are shown in table 3.7. Between 2009 and 2013, the total number of FTE teaching staff grew by 12,389 or 5.0 per cent. The growth in teaching staff numbers over the period was concentrated in non-government schools with 7,052 additional teachers (a rise of 8.1 per cent), compared to 5,337 (a rise of 3.3 per cent) in government schools.


Table 3.7 Full-time equivalent (FTE) of teaching staff by school sector, Australia, 2009–2013

Table 3.7 Full-time equivalent (FTE) of teaching staff by school sector, Australia, 2009–2013

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

See also Part 9: Additional statistics, table 3

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 than secondary schooling.

Table 3.8 summarises average student–teacher ratios in Australia in 2013 across the three school sectors.


Table 3.8 Full-time equivalent (FTE) student–teacher ratios, by school sector and school level, Australia, 2013

Table 3.8 Full-time equivalent (FTE) student–teacher ratios, by school sector and school level, Australia, 2013


For all Australian schools, the average FTE student–teacher ratio in 2013 was 13.9:1, with an overall difference of 0.5 FTE between government schools (14.1) and non-government schools (13.6). However, within the non-government sector, student–teacher ratios for secondary classes in independent schools were noticeably lower than the overall average.

At the primary level in 2013, the average FTE student–teacher ratio was 15.6:1 compared to 12.0:1 at the secondary level, and there were higher ratios for primary than secondary school classes in all three sectors. Overall, the student–teacher ratio was lower in government schools than non-government schools at the primary level, but higher at the secondary level.

As shown in table 3.9, the average student–teacher ratio across all schools of 13.9 students per teacher in 2013 was the same as in 2009.


Table 3.9 Full-time equivalent (FTE) student–teacher ratios, by school sector and level of education, Australia, 2009–2013

Table 3.9 Full-time equivalent (FTE) student–teacher ratios, by school sector and level of education, Australia, 2009–2013


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

See also Part 9: Additional statistics, table 4

International comparisons


On average, in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries in 2012 (the latest year available), there were 15 students for every teacher at primary school level and 13 students per teacher at secondary school 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 ratio in 2012 of 16:1 (15.5) for primary schooling was slightly above the OECD average. Australia’s average student–teacher ratio of 12:1 (12.0) for secondary schooling was lower than the OECD average.

Student–teacher ratios in Australia were lower than in the United Kingdom (21 primary and 16 secondary), Japan (18 and 13), Germany (16 and 14) and Korea (18 and 17), but higher than ratios in Spain (13 and 10) and Norway (10 and 10) 2. Australia's student–teacher ratios were lower than the average for the Group of 20 (G20) nations (19 primary and 15 secondary) for 2012.

A comparison of student–teacher ratios in 2012 in OECD countries and other G20 nations is included as table 5 in Part 9: Additional statistics.







1 At the time of the schools census in August 2013. 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.)
Draft National Report on Schooling in Australia 2013

2 Source: OECD, Education at a Glance 2014: OECD Indicators, table D2.2 based on UNESCO Institute for Statistics (World Education Indicators Programme)

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