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4221.0 - Schools, Australia, 2013 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/03/2014   
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20 March 2014
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra time)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students staying at school longer; national student/teacher ratios stable

More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are staying in school to year 12, and the national student/teacher ratio has been stable for the last five years, according to the latest report on Australian schools released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

"We've seen another increase in the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students staying in school to year 12" said Patrick Corr from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. "It was only in 2012 that we saw the retention rate pass 50 per cent; in 2013 it reached 55 per cent, an increase of four percentage points in a year."

"By comparison the retention rate for non-indigenous students is 83 per cent, which is 28 percentage points higher. Ten years ago the difference in retention rates between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and non-indigenous students was 37 percentage points.

Today's report also found that government schools are responsible for the education of the vast majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Around two thirds (64.1 per cent) of non-indigenous students attend government schools, but for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students the rate was 84.4 per cent, with just 15.6 per cent attending non-government schools.

"One in every 15 students attending government school is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student, compared to one in every 40 students in Catholic schools and one in every 52 students in independent schools".

Student/teacher ratios remain stable, but schools are larger

"We're also seeing a continuing national trend towards fewer - but larger - schools," said Mr Corr.

"In 2013 there were 9,393 schools in Australia, 34 schools less than 2012 and 169 less than there were in 2008.

"Over those five years, the average number of students per school has increased. For government schools, the average school size has gone from 347 to 370 students, and for non-government schools it's gone from 442 to 479.

"This increase in school size has not affected the national student to teaching staff ratio, which has remained virtually unchanged over the last five years at 13.9 students to every teacher."

Across Australia, student-to-teacher ratios were lowest in independent schools (12.1) and highest in Catholic schools (14.8). For government schools the ratio was 14.1.

More information can be found in Schools Australia (cat. no. 4221.0), available for free download from the ABS website -

Media note:
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.

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