Early school leavers fact sheet

This fact sheet was originally published 15 December 2023.


This fact sheet provides a high-level overview of findings from the Pathways Outcomes for Learners dashboard relating to early school leavers.

The Pathways Outcomes for Learners dashboard maps the journeys of about 140,000 NSW students from school at age 15 (in 2004 and 2005) to employment at age 24 (in 2013 and 2014). Early school leavers are defined as NSW students in Years 10, 11 and 12 who left school before completing Year 12. This fact sheet compares outcomes for early school leavers with outcomes for all students from their wider Year 10 cohort.

  • 30% of students left school early.
  • 51% of early school leavers were earning above minimum wage at age 24.
  • 81% of early school leavers enrolled in tertiary VET, while only 6% enrolled in university.
  • VET study in engineering and related technologies was the most common tertiary field of study for early school leavers.
  • Technicians and trades workers was the most common occupation for early school leavers.


  • Post-school
  • Secondary
  • Statistical


  • All high schools
  • All school-based staff
  • Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
  • General public
  • Post-school
  • Secondary
  • Statistical
  • Students
  • Web page

Business Unit:

  • Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
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