ACARA releases new data on student enrolment and staff retention - Education Matters Magazine
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ACARA releases new data on student enrolment and staff retention

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has today released new data on schools and students as part of the National Report on Schooling in Australia 2023.

The two new chapters published cover information on schools and schooling, student enrolment and retention.

The National Report on Schooling in Australia 2023 is being progressively released, providing more timely commentary on progress against nationally agreed policy initiatives by Australia’s school education sector as the data becomes available.

The key highlights in this release include:

Schools

  • There were 9,629 schools in Australia, an overall increase of 15 schools since 2022, of which 69.7 per cent of schools were government, 18.3 per cent were Catholic and 12.0 per cent independent.

Student enrolment

  • A total of 4,086,998 students were enrolled in Australian schools, an increase of 1.1 per cent from 2022.
  • 64.0 per cent were enrolled in government schools, 19.7 per cent in Catholic schools and 16.3 per cent in independent schools.
  • 55.3 per cent were primary school students and 44.7 per cent were in secondary school.
  • Over the past decade, total enrolments grew by 441,479 (12.1 per cent) which largely reflects the growth in the school-age population.
  • The number of students in independent schools rose from 521,436 in 2013 to 666,581 in 2023 – a 27.8 per cent increase. This has resulted in a 2.0 percentage point increase in the proportion of students attending independent schools since 2013.
  • In 2023, the proportion of 6–15-year-olds enrolled in Australian schools was 98.6 per cent – the same as in 2022, but down from 99 per cent in 2021 (data from the National Schools Statistics Collection).

Teaching staff numbers

  • There were 311,655 full time equivalent (FTE) teaching staff in Australia — an increase of 4,427 (1.4 per cent) from 2022.
  • Teaching staff numbers included 62.6 per cent employed in government schools, 19.3 per cent in Catholic schools and 18.2 per cent in independent schools.
  • Australia’s teaching workforce continued to be mainly female, with women making up 71.9 per cent of FTE teachers in 2023.
  • The average student to teaching staff ratio was 13.1 students per teacher, the same as in 2022 and a reduction from 13.3 students per teacher in 2021.
  • The average student to teaching staff ratio was lower in independent schools (11.8 students per teacher) compared to Catholic and government schools (13.4 students per teacher).
  • The average student-teacher ratio was 11.8 students per teacher at the secondary level, compared with 14.3 students per teacher at the primary level.

Access the National Report on Schooling data portal here.

The next release in June 2024 will provide an overview of progress against the commitments to action agreed by Australian Education ministers in the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) declaration.

The chapters on Vocational Education and Training and Student Attainment will be released in December 2024, and the school funding chapters, along with the full national report, will be released in February 2025.

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