Key Facts

In Australia in 2023: 

  • There were 9,629 schools – an increase of 15 schools since 2022

  • 69.7% of schools were government schools, 18.3% were Catholic and 12.0% independent

  • 64.8% of schools were primary, 15.1% secondary, 14.8% combined and 5.4% were special schools. 

Notes and caveats

    • Categories used in tables and graphs showing ‘school type’ are:
      • "Primary" - school delivers primary education
      • "Secondary" - school delivers secondary education
      • "Combined" - school delivers both primary and secondary education
      • "Special" - students may include primary students, secondary students, ungraded students or a combination of primary, secondary and ungraded students.
    • Data is drawn from the National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) collected in August each year and published by the ABS, Schools, Australia.
    • In 2020 and 2021, restrictions due to COVID-19 may have impacted on NSSC data. However, schools delivering programs remotely or that were temporarily closed 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.
    • From 2015, primary education comprises Foundation (pre-Year 1) followed by Years 1-6 in New South Wales (NSW), Victoria (Vic.), Queensland (Qld), Western Australia (WA), Tasmania (Tas.), Northern Territory (NT) and Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Secondary education consists of Years 7-12 in these jurisdictions.
    • In 2015, Year 7 in Qld and WA was moved from a primary school year to a secondary school year.
    • Until 2019 in South Australia (SA), primary education comprised Foundation (pre-Year 1) followed by Years 1-7. Secondary education consisted of Years 8-12.
    • In 2019, Year 7 was moved from a primary school year to a secondary school year in some South Australian non-government schools. In 2020, three government schools also moved Year 7 to become the first year of secondary schooling. Year 7 in SA will be moved progressively from a primary school year to a secondary school year (from 2022 for most government schools).
    • In 2022, all remaining South Australian government and non-government schools completed the transition to Year 7 as the starting school grade of secondary schooling. This meant that 2022 is the first year South Australian schools across all affiliations had Year 7 as their starting secondary school grade.
    • 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 this publication, Catholic non-systemic schools are counted as Catholic rather than as independent.
    • See Glossary for definitions of school, school level, school sector, school type and special school and for further information on the NSSC.

Source: ABS, Schools.