Student (FTE) to teacher (FTE) ratio by school sector, time series
Student-teacher ratios dataset
Notes and caveats
The student-teacher ratio is calculated as the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) students per FTE teaching staff.
Student-teacher ratios dataset
Download the Student-teacher ratio dataset
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, restrictions due to COVID-19 may have impacted on NSSC data. However, students and teachers who were working remotely, or whose schooling or 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.
- Full-time equivalent (FTE) student-teacher ratios are calculated by dividing the FTE student number by the FTE teaching staff number. Student-teacher ratios are an indicator of the level of staffing resources used and should not be used as a measure of class size. They do not take account of teacher aides and other non-teaching staff who may also assist in the delivery of school education or of non-teaching duties of teaching staff.
- Categories used in tables and graphs showing "school level" are "primary" and "secondary".
- From 2015, primary education comprises 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 comprises 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 students and staff, and therefore student-teacher ratios, 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. Year 7 in SA will be moved progressively from a primary school year to a secondary school year (from 2022 for government schools).
- In 2019, Year 7 was moved from a primary school year to a secondary school year in some SA non-government schools. This may affect primary and secondary student-teacher ratios for the non-government sectors and all schools in SA in 2019.
- Students attending special schools are allocated to either primary or secondary school on the basis of grade or school level, where identified. Where the year level or school level is not identified, students are allocated to primary or secondary school level according to the typical age level in each state or territory.
- In 2020, support students in New South Wales Government mainstream schools were recorded against their grade of enrolment for the first time, to be more aligned with national counting rules. Only students in Schools for Specific Purposes (SSP) are now recorded as ungraded. Care should be taken when comparing with previous years as enrolments by grades will be higher than previously due to the revised methodology.
- Staff employed in combined schools and special schools are allocated to either primary or secondary education on a pro-rata basis.
- 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 this publication, Catholic non-systemic schools are counted as Catholic rather than as independent
- In 2018, the Australian Capital Territory provided revised 2017 staff data, which have been included in these data.
- In 2020, the Victorian Government provided revised 2019 teaching staff FTE data.
- 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 therefore to increased student-teacher ratios for the government school sector in NSW and nationally and for all schools in NSW and nationally.
- See Glossary for definitions of school level, sector, full-time equivalent (FTE), staff, staff categories and for further information on the NSSC.
Sources: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia
This information relates to Part 1 of the National Report on Schooling in Australia.
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