The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school students is at a record high, according to a report on Australian schools released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The report shows 200,563 students identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in 2015, an increase of 4.2 per cent on 2014.
The figure is nearly 50 per cent higher than the 135,097 figure reported in 2005.
The report also shows that, for the first time, three out of five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who started secondary school in Year 7/8 continued through to Year 12 in 2015.
The rate was higher for females (65 per cent) than males (56 per cent).
“The increases have been greater in recent years, in part due to the success of programs to improve identification and data collection strategies for this group of students,” said ABS spokesman Patrick Corr.
The rate for all students, regardless of Indigenous status, was 84 per cent, a marked increase on the 75 per cent recorded in 2005.
Overall, the report notes that the number of schools in Australia increased between 2014 and 2015 by a net figure of 15, bringing to an end a decade of falling school numbers.
The 2015 figure of 9,404 schools compares with 9,623 in 2005.
The report notes that the rise in the number of schools was driven by the non-government sector, with 15 more Catholic schools and 12 more Independent schools Australia-wide. In contrast, the number of schools in the government sector fell by 12. However, student numbers rose in both sectors between 2014 and 2015, with enrolments in government schools up by 1.6 per cent, and in non-government schools, up by 1.4 per cent.
As at August 2015, there were 3,750,973 students enrolled in Australia’s schools, of which 2,445,130 (65 per cent) attended government schools and 1,305,843 (35 per cent) attended non-government schools. Compared with 2005, total student figures have risen by 377,761, or just over 11 per cent.
The number of staff working in Australia’s schools increased by 12,252 (2.7 per cent) to a total of 466,867 persons. Although the number of teaching staff rose by 1.9 per cent, the rise in student numbers meant the student to teaching staff ratio remained unchanged from 2014, at 13.9. This compares with a rate of 14.2 ten years earlier.
As has been the case for many years, there were considerably more female teaching staff than male. This was particularly the case at the primary level, where females comprised 83.2 per cent of teaching staff (FTE) in Catholic schools, 81.8 per cent in government schools, and 77.6 per cent in Independent schools.
“The highest proportion of male teaching staff was at the secondary level in Independent schools, where it stood at 43.5 per cent,” said Mr Corr.
Further information can be found in Schools, Australia 2014 (cat. no. 4221.0) available for free download from the ABS website.