National Report on Schooling in Australia 2009

Student engagement

4.1 Enrolment

The proportion of children of compulsory school age who are enrolled in school is a basic measure of the reach and coverage of Australian schooling. It is specified as a performance indicator for schooling in the National Education Agreement and is a new Key Performance Measure (KPM) in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia.
This measure, specified as the number of students aged six to 15 years enrolled in school, expressed as a proportion of the six to 15-year-old population, is reported in Table 4.1.
 
Key Performance Measure 7 (a)
Table 4.1               Proportion of children aged 6 to 15 years enrolled in school
Proportion of children aged 6 to 15 years enrolled in school
2008
2009
Population, Australia (6 to 15 years)(a)(c)
2,774,934
2,782,999
School enrolments, Australia (6 to 15 years)(b)(c)
2,739,205
2,748,736
Proportion of 6 to 15-year-olds enrolled in school, Australia (c)
98.7%
98.8%
 
(a) Estimates for the total population are sourced from the most recently available ABS Population by Age and Sex, Cat. No. 3201.0 (30 June 2010). The Australian total includes 'other territories' including Jervis Bay and Norfolk Island.
(b) 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.
(c) Data are drawn from the most recent ABS series and may differ from those in previous publications.
Sources: ABS, Schools, Australia, 2010, Cat. No. 4221.0; ABS, Population by Age and Sex, Australian states and territories, June 2010, Cat. No. 3201.0.
 
Although specific enrolment requirements vary between States and Territories, schooling is compulsory in all jurisdictions for children from the age of six until at least the age of 15. As a result, enrolment rates for six to 15-year-olds are close to 100%. (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, 2009 for details of differences in enrolment requirements between jurisdictions.)
 
Additional Statistics, Table 9 reports this KPM by State and Territory.
Students in the 6–15 years age group made up 78.9% of total enrolments. A further 736,000 students were either under six or 16 and over at the time of the schools census in August 2009. In total, almost 3.5 million individual students were enrolled in Australian schools in 2009. Of these, approximately 2 million were primary school students and approximately 1.5 million were secondary school students. This difference was mainly due to schooling structures, in which primary schooling comprises more year groups/cohorts than secondary schooling, but also reflects the compulsory nature of primary school from Year 1. Individual enrolments by school level and sector for 2009 are summarised in Table 4.2.
 
Table 4.2        Number and proportion of individual students (full-time plus part-time) enrolled in schools by school level and sector, Australia, 2009
 
 
 
Sector
 
 
Government
Catholic
Independent
Total
School level
No.
%
No.
%
No.
%
No.
%
Primary
1,383,254
69.4
384,346
19.3
224,262
11.3
1,991,862
57.2
 
Junior secondary
627,299
61.4
221,922
21.7
172,608
16.9
1,021,829
29.3
 
Senior secondary
284,085
60.3
98,569
20.9
88,459
18.8
471,113
13.5
Total secondary
911,384
61.0
320,491
21.5
261,067
17.5
1,492,942
42.8
Total
2,294,638
65.8
704,837
20.2
485,329
13.9
3,484,804
100.0
                                 
 
Notes:
 
Data are drawn from the most recent ABS series and may differ from those in previous publications.
 
Primary education comprises a pre-Year 1 grade followed by Years 1 to 6 in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. In Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, primary education comprises a pre-Year 1 grade followed by Years 1 to 7.
 
Junior secondary is the years from commencement of secondary school to Year 10, including ungraded secondary.
 
Senior secondary includes Years 11 and 12.
 
Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding.
 
Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2010
 
 
Additional Statistics, Table 10 reports individual enrolments in 2009 by full time and part time and by State and Territory as well as by school level and sector.
In 2009, almost two-thirds (65.8%) of Australian school students were enrolled in government schools, approximately one-fifth (20.2%) of students were enrolled in Catholic schools and the remainder (13.9%) attended independent schools.
Figure 4.1  Student enrolments (individuals) by school sector, Australia, 2009 (%)

 Student Enrolment by Sector

The proportion of students enrolled in government schools in 2009 was higher for primary than secondary students, while the reverse was true for independent schools. This suggests some movement of students from the government to the independent sector, most probably between primary and secondary schooling. However, as the movement of individual students between schools is not tracked, it is not clear to what extent this is the net effect of larger student movements among all three sectors. The higher proportion of independent sector students in the senior years of schooling was due, at least in part, to higher apparent Year 10 to 12 retention rates for this sector.

Figure 4.2 Number of individual students enrolled by school level and sector, Australia, 2009

Government, Catholic, Independent

The numbers of individual students enrolled in all three sectors have risen over the last five years. The proportion of students enrolled in government schools has fallen slightly over this period, whereas the proportion of students in independent schools has risen. The proportion of students enrolled in Catholic schools has remained relatively stable. Table 4.3 and Figure 4.3 summarise these data. 

 
Table 4.3        Number and proportion of individual students enrolled (full-time plus part-time) by school sector, Australia, 20052009
 
 
 
Sector
 
 
Government
Catholic
Independent
Total
Year
No.
%
No.
%
No.
%
No.
%
2005
2,269,003
67.3
673,544
20.0
430,665
12.8
3,373,212
100.0
2006
2,270,606
66.9
679,935
20.0
442,711
13.0
3,393,252
100.0
2007
2,290,443
66.6
691,557
20.1
459,026
13.3
3,441,026
100.0
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
                         
 
Notes:
 
Data are drawn from the most recent ABS series and may differ from those in previous publications.
 
Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding.
 
Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2010
 
 

Figure 4.3 Number of individual students enrolled by school sector, Australia, 2005–2009

 Enrolment by school sector

Data on full-time equivalent (FTE) enrolments by State and Territory, by school sector and by level of education, are included in Additional Statistics Table 12 and Table 13.