Rise in number of overseas students ‘not surprising’ - Education Matters Magazine

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Rise in number of overseas students ‘not surprising’

School enrolments reached a record high in 2023, with overseas students contributing to the growth, according to data released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS data shows total school enrolments reached 4,086,998 across 9,629 schools in 2023, increasing by 1.1 per cent or 44,486 students since 2022.

The number of full-fee paying overseas students contributed to the higher growth rate, increasing by over a third (36.6 per cent) from 2022 to 21,124 students. Between 2019-2022 there was a drop of 41.9 per cent, primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is not surprising given the large increase in net overseas migration seen in 2022-23, the highest net migration on record,” ABS head of education statistics Ms Mell Plumb said.

Independent schools recorded the highest growth rate in enrolments for the seventh consecutive year at 3.9 per cent, followed by Catholic schools, up 1.4 per cent, and government schools, up 0.3 per cent.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school student enrolments continued to rise to 264,935, up by 9,139 (3.6 per cent) from the previous year. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students now make up 6.5 per cent of all school students.

The Apparent Retention Rate, which is the estimated proportion of secondary students staying at school until Year 12, fell for the sixth consecutive year to 79.1 per cent, 1.4 percentage points lower than 2022. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students the Apparent Retention Rate was 55.9 per cent, marginally higher than in 2013 (55.1 per cent).

In 2023, there were 311,655 full-time equivalent teaching staff across Australian schools, an increase of 1.4 per cent from 2022.

“The average student-to-teacher ratio across Australian schools was 13.1 students to one teacher, the same as in 2022. Independent schools had a lower student-to-teacher ratio (11.8 students to one teacher) than government and Catholic schools (13.4 students to one teacher),” Ms Plumb said.

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