Key Facts

  • At the 2021 census, the national enrolment rate for 6–15-year-olds was 99.3%. Enrolment rates were 99.0% or higher in all states and territories except the Northern Territory, which had an enrolment rate of 98.6%. 

  • Data from the National Schools Statistics Collection indicates that in 2023, the proportion of 6–15-year-olds enrolled in school in Australia was 98.6% – the same as in 2022, but down from 99.0% in 2021. 

Notes and caveats

    • The numerator and denominator for the enrolment rate (Census) are both sourced from the five-yearly Australian Census of Population and Housing. Enrolled students are counted within the state of their usual residence rather than the state in which they attend school. Therefore, the rates reported for states and territories will not exceed 100 percent.
    • Because of exclusions in the data, especially for item non-responses, the Census data understate both the actual number of school students and the target population. In addition, the population estimate used from the Census of Population and Housing is the count of persons present in Australia on Census night by their usual place of residence. It excludes usual residents not present in Australia on Census night who missed the Census. Because of these factors, the only Census data reported is the enrolment rate.
    • Annual enrolment data is drawn from the National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) collected in August each year and published in ABS, Schools, Australia. This count includes students enrolled full-time or part-time in schools located in a state or territory. Jervis Bay enrolments are included with ACT; Norfolk Island enrolments are included with NSW prior to 2022, while they are included in Qld from 2022. 'Other territory' enrolments are excluded. This is the numerator of the annual enrolment rate reported.
    • In 2020 and 2021, restrictions due to COVID-19 may have impacted on NSSC enrolment data. However, students who were learning remotely, or whose schooling was temporarily disrupted due to COVID-19 at the time of the collection were included in the count. Overall, it is estimated that the impacts of COVID-19 on the data were minor. For further details see Schools, Australia 2020 and 2021.
    • In 2020 and 2021 border closures due to COVID-19 impacted on school enrolments due to reduced immigration and, in particular, to falls in the numbers of full fee-paying overseas students (FFPOS). This may have impacted the numerator and/or the denominator for this measure in 2020 and 2021. For further details see Schools, Australia 2020 and 2021.
    • Annual estimates for the resident population are at 30 June each year and are sourced from the most recent release of ABS, Cat. No. 3101.0, Australian Demographic Statistics. These are estimated by projection from the five-yearly Australian Census of Population and Housing and adjusted to include usual residents missed in the Census. As estimates, ERP figures are subject to error and to periodic revision. ERP data may differ from data in previous editions of the National Report on Schooling in Australia and in other publications. The Australian totals include 'other territories' including Jervis Bay and Norfolk Island. However, Jervis Bay and Norfolk Island are excluded from the ACT and NSW totals. Therefore, state and territory ERP numbers will not sum to Australian totals. This is the denominator of the annual enrolment rate reported.
    • NSSC enrolment data for a state or territory include students who reside in other jurisdictions and cross state and territory boundaries to attend school. These students are counted in the population (ERP) of the jurisdiction in which they usually reside, not of the jurisdiction where they attend school. This allows state and territory enrolment rates to exceed 100 per cent, and, in the case of ACT, to significantly exceed 100 per cent.
    • For more information on the differences between Census and ERP population estimates please see Understanding different population counts
    • Categories used in tables and graphs showing "school sector" are "government", "Catholic" and "independent". In some tables, the category "total non-government" (total of Catholic and independent data) is also used.
    • In Schools Australia, and in the National Report on Schooling in Australia, Catholic non-systemic schools are counted as Catholic rather than as independent.
    • See Glossary for definition of school sector, and for further information on Census of Population and Housing, ERP and the NSSC.

Sources: ABS Schools, Australia; ABS Australian Demographic Statistics (June 2022 release date 15/12/2022, based on the 2021 Census of Population and Housing); ABS, Australian Census of Population and Housing, 2006, 2011, 2016 and 2021