Student background data collection for independent schools


About the collection

ACARA collects student background data (SBD) for all Australian schools to calculate Socio-Educational Advantage (SEA) and Disadvantaged Language Background other than English (DLBOTE).  

Data utilisation

The Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) is used to report school NAPLAN performance against students with similar backgrounds.

The proportions of students in the lower two quarters of Socio-Educational Advantage are used by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment (AGDESE) to calculate the socio‑educational disadvantage loadings. The proportion of DLBOTE students is used to calculate the low English proficiency loading. For further information, please see Section 18 of the Australian Education Regulation 2013

ICSEA values for schools are increasingly being used by government and non-government organisations for determining which schools qualify for special assistance.

What information is collected

Each students’ date of birth, sex, Indigenous status and language. Each parents’ language, education level and occupation level.  

How to submit your student background data

  1. Download the SBD template
  2. Extract student data from your system/database into the template
  3. Request an FTP account (Please do not email this information)
  4. Upload your school/s completed spreadsheet to ACARA’s secure FTP site
  5. Check the confirmation email from ACARA detailing if your data has been accepted

Further details for each of these steps can be found in the 2021 SBD submission instructions.

Submission due date

The 2021 SBD collection for Independent schools closed 16 July 2021. Submissions received after the deadline will not be accepted for the AGDESE October payment, however, may be used for potential adjustments later in the year.

Process flow

2021 Full process overview of Independent schools’ SBD data collection


Contact us

For assistance in preparing the template or submitting the data, please review the frequently asked questions below or contact ACARA via: [email protected].


Frequently asked questions