Key Facts

In Australia in 2023:

  • There were 311,655 full time equivalent (FTE) teaching staff in Australia — an increase of 4,427 (1.4%) from 2022.

  • Staff numbers closely reflected enrolments, with 62.6% of school teachers employed in government schools, 19.3% in Catholic schools 18.2% in independent schools.

  • Australia’s teaching workforce continued to be predominantly female, with women making up 71.9% of FTE teachers in 2023. The gender difference was more pronounced at the primary level (82.1% female) than at secondary level (61.4% female).   

Notes and caveats

    • Data is drawn from the National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) collected in August each year and published in ABS, Schools, Australia.
    • In 2020 and 2021, restrictions due to COVID-19 may have impacted on this data collection. However, staff who were working remotely, or whose work 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.
    • Categories used in tables and graphs showing "school level" are "primary" and "secondary".
    • Staff employed in combined schools and special schools and non-teaching staff are allocated to either primary or secondary school level on a pro-rata basis.
    • From 2015 Primary education comprises a 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. This affects the numbers and proportions of primary and secondary school staff in those states and nationally from 2015.
    • 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. This may affect the number and proportion of primary and secondary school staff in SA in 2019.
    • 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.
    • In 2020, the Victorian Government provided revised 2019 teaching staff FTE data.
    • 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, Catholic non-systemic schools are counted as Catholic rather than as independent.
    • In 2018, NSW introduced a new payroll system that is used to report staffing levels in government schools. This system provides stricter controls and validation over the way casual and temporary teachers are engaged; and improved the information available to better identify teachers that should be included as "generally active" in schools. This led to a fall in the number of FTE NSW government school teachers reported in 2019 and to a small fall in the number of FTE teaching staff nationally. Care should be taken when comparing NSW government in-school staff time series data.
    • In 2018, the Australian Capital Territory provided revised 2017 staff data, which have been included in this release.
    • From 2018 there are a small number of staff whose sex was reported as neither male nor female.
      • In order to protect the confidentiality of these individuals the ABS has randomly assigned them either a male or female status. The ABS will review this approach as input data quality improves.
      • In addition, some providers supply gender data, rather than sex, for this classification.
    • See Glossary for definitions of school level, school sector, special school, staff and staff functions, full-time equivalent of staff (FTE) and for further information on the NSSC.

Sources: ABS, Schools, Australia