National Report on Schooling in Australia 2009

Schools and schooling

3.3 Staff

Staff numbers

In 2009 there were 249,196 full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching staff in all primary and secondary schools in Australia, as shown in Table 3.4. (See Glossary and notes to Tables 2 and 3 in the Additional Statistics for definitions of FTE and teaching staff.)
 
Table 3.4               Full-time equivalent (FTE) of teaching staff by school sector, school level and sex, Australia, 2009
 
Primary
Secondary
Total
Sector
Males
Females
Persons
Males
Females
Persons
Males
Females
Persons
Government
17,201
71,861
89,061
30,487
43,017
73,504
47,688
114,878
162,566
Catholic
3,899
17,902
21,800
10,579
14,428
25,007
14,478
32,330
46,807
Independent
3,478
11,653
15,130
11,075
13,618
24,693
14,552
25,271
39,823
Total non-government
7,376
29,555
36,931
21,654
28,046
49,700
29,030
57,600
86,630
All schools
24,577
101,415
125,992
52,141
71,063
123,204
76,718
172,478
249,196
Note: Staff employed in special schools are allocated to either primary or secondary education on a pro-rata basis.
 
Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2010
 
See also Additional Statistics Table 2 and Table 3
 
Australia’s teaching workforce was predominantly female, with women comprising 69% of FTE teachers and men comprising 31% of the total. At the primary level there were 125,992 FTE teaching staff employed and females comprised 101,415 (or 80%) of the total. Males comprised 24,577 (or 20%) of the total. In secondary schooling, there were 123,204 FTE teaching staff employed. Females comprised 71,063 (or 58%) of the total. Males comprised 52,141 (or 42%) of the total.
 
Government schools employed 162,566 FTE teaching staff; non-government schools employed a total of 86,630 FTE teaching staff.
The number of FTE teaching staff by school sector from 2005 to 2009 is shown in Table 3.5. Between 2005 and 2009 the number of FTE teaching staff grew by 13,402, from 235,794 to 249,196. FTE teachers at government schools increased from 156,564 to 162,566 and in the non-government sector from 79,231 to 86,630.
 
Table 3.5               Full-time equivalent (FTE) of teaching staff by school sector, Australia, 20052009
Sector
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
Government
156,564
158,194
160,791
161,351
162,566
Non-government
79,231
81,445
83,567
85,755
86,630
 
Catholic
43,971
44,870
45,716
46,390
46,807
 
Independent
35,260
36,575
37,850
39,366
39,823
All schools
235,794
239,639
244,358
247,106
249,196
 
Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2010
 
 

 

Student–teacher ratios

The student–teacher ratio is defined as the number of FTE students per FTE teaching staff. A lower student–teacher ratio means there is a smaller number of students per teacher. Although there is a relationship between student–teacher ratios and class sizes, ratios are not, by themselves, a reliable indicator 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 compared to secondary education.

Table 3.6 summarises average student–teacher ratios across the three school sectors in 2009.

 
Table 3.6               Full-time equivalent (FTE) student–teacher ratios, by sector and school level, Australia, 2009
Sector
Primary
Secondary
All schools
Government
15.5
12.3
14.0
Catholic
17.6
12.8
15.1
Independent
14.8
10.6
12.2
Total non-government
16.5
11.7
13.7
All schools
15.8
12.0
13.9
 
Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2010
 
 
 
Nationally, for all schools, the average student–teacher ratio was 13.9 in 2009. For government schools, the ratio was 14.0 and for non-government schools the ratio was 13.7.
 
For all primary schools in Australia the student–teacher ratio was 15.8 in 2009. For government primary schools the student–teacher ratio was 15.5 and for non-government primary schools the ratio was 16.5.
 
For all secondary schools in Australia the student–teacher ratio was 12.0 in 2009. For government secondary schools, the ratio was 12.3 and for non-government secondary schools, the ratio was 11.7.
 
Between 2005 and 2009 the average student–teacher ratio for all schools decreased from 14.2 to 13.9, as shown in Table 3.7.
 
Table 3.7        Full-time equivalent (FTE) student–teacher ratios, by sector and level of education, Australia, 20052009
School sector and level
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
Government primary
16.1
15.8
15.7
15.6
15.5
Government secondary
12.4
12.4
12.3
12.3
12.3
Catholic primary
17.9
17.7
17.8
17.6
17.6
Catholic secondary
13.1
12.9
12.8
12.8
12.8
Independent primary
14.6
14.4
14.7
14.7
14.8
Independent secondary
10.7
10.7
10.5
10.5
10.6
All schools
14.2
14.1
14.0
13.9
13.9
 
Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2010
 
 

OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey

The 2008 Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) was conducted in 23 countries and provides internationally comparable data on conditions affecting teachers in schools. The results suggest that in Australia, a high level of funding is allocated for staffing and that students benefit from below average class sizes. About 60 per cent of Australian teachers surveyed had been in the profession for more than 10 years. This was balanced by the finding that Australia has a relatively higher proportion (about 10%) of teachers who are in their first two years of teaching.

Quality teaching and school leadership

In 2009 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) established the $550 million Improving Teacher Quality National Partnership to attract, train, place, develop and retain quality teachers in Australian classrooms. This was supported by funding in the 2009–10 Australian Budget, encouraging universities to improve teacher education and attract students to teaching.
The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) will provide leadership in promoting excellence in the teaching profession. For more information on the National Partnership on Teacher Quality and AITSL refer to the National initiatives and achievements – Supporting quality teaching and school leadership section of this report.