National Report on Schooling in Australia 2009

Schools and schooling

3.2 School numbers

In 2009 there were 9,529 schools in Australia. This total included primary, secondary, combined (primary and secondary) and special schools, across government (71%) and non-government (29%) sectors. (See Glossary for definitions of school levels and sectors.)
Of the total number of schools, 71.4% were administered by State and Territory governments, 17.9% were affiliated with the Catholic Church and 10.7% were classified as independent. Most independent schools provide a religious-based education or promote a particular educational philosophy.
 
Approximately 77% of primary schools, 72% of secondary schools and over 80% of schools for students with special needs were in the government sector. The Catholic sector accounted for approximately 19% of primary schools and 22% of secondary schools while almost half of all combined schools were in the independent sector.
 
The number and proportion of schools by sector and school category is shown in Table 3.2.
 
Table 3.2               Number and proportion of schools by sector and school category, Australia, 2009
School sector
School category
        Government
      Catholic
        Independent
        Total
No.
%
No.
%
No.
%
No.
%
Primary
4,930
76.9
1,225
19.1
259
4.0
6,414
67.3
Secondary
1,040
72.3
315
21.9
84
5.8
1,439
15.1
Combined
497
39.4
139
11.0
625
49.6
1,261
13.2
Special
335
80.7
26
6.3
54
13.0
415
4.4
Total
6,802
71.4
1,705
17.9
1,022
10.7
9,529
100.0
 
Note: Primary education comprises a pre-year 1 grade followed by Years 1 to 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 to 7.
 
Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2010 (unpublished data)
 
 

The proportion of schools in each sector in 2009 is shown in Figure 3.1.

Figure 3.1: Proportion of schools by sector, Australia, 2009

 Proportion of schools by sector, Australia, 2009

The total number of schools fell by 0.98% over the period 2005–2009. This resulted from a fall in the number of government schools of 1.83% which was partially offset by a rise of 1.41% in the number of Catholic schools and a rise of 2.61% in the number of independent schools. This is reflected in a slight change in the proportions of government and non-government sector schools within this period.

 
Table 3.3
Number and proportion of schools by sector, Australia, 20052009
 
                                        School sector
 
Year
Government
Catholic
Independent
Total
No.
%
No.
%
No.
%
No.
%
2005
6,929
72.0
1,698
17.6
996
10.4
9,623
100.0
2006
6,902
71.8
1,703
17.7
1,007
10.5
9,612
100.0
2007
6,851
71.5
1,703
17.8
1,025
10.7
9,579
100.0
2008
6,833
71.5
1,705
17.8
1,024
10.7
9,562
100.0
2009
6,802
71.4
1,705
17.9
1,022
10.7
9,529
100.0
                       
Source: ABS Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2010
 
 
 

Caution is required when interpreting time series for numbers of schools. The number of schools in a particular year may vary due to decisions affecting structural changes in the composition of schooling. For example: several schools at the same level of education may amalgamate into a multi-campus school; primary schools and secondary schools may merge to create Pre-year 1 to 12 (combined) schools; secondary schools may split to create middle schools and senior secondary schools. Schools may also fall in or out of the scope of the data collection, based on changes in their major activity. Each of these scenarios may affect the number of schools reported year to year. (ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2010, Explanatory note 26)

Figure 3.2 shows the change in the number of schools in each sector over the period 2005–2009.

Figure 3.2 Number of schools by sector, Australia, 2005–2009

Number of schools by sector, Australia, 20052009

For the number of schools by State and Territory in 2009 see Additional Statistics Table 1.