State of Education in NSW, 2018

This report was originally published 28 May 2019.


Education provides the foundation for long-term social and economic success, both for individuals and the community. In light of reforms aimed at improving outcomes across the education spectrum, it is important for policy-makers, researchers, educators and the general public to have access to information about how NSW is tracking.

The third biennial edition of the State of Education report presents trend data on key education indicators in NSW. It provides an overarching snapshot of performance across early childhood education, schooling, vocational education and training, higher education and post-school destinations.

The Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation is committed to bringing together and sharing information about what NSW education is achieving, what has improved, and where there is room for improvement. The 2018 State of Education in NSW report provides this.

Data notes and equity groups

The report presents the most recent data available as at 30 June 2018, with up to ten years of trend data provided where possible and some national data included where relevant.

International measures published in the first State of Education report are currently the most recent available and are not repeated here. Data is selected from a range of sources, which may be subject to different protocols, definitions and calculation methods. Different data sources also have different collection periods and release dates – for example, Census data is updated only every five years, whereas other collections are more frequent.

Caution is advised when interpreting graphs showing trends related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, as changes could partly reflect improvements in the rate of identification by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people along with real changes over time.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students

Throughout the report the term ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’ is used to encompass the many nations, language groups and clans in NSW, including those from the Torres Strait. This is consistent with the national approach in which ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’ is the accepted term (ABS, 2014). There is a known under-reporting of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity across all datasets.

Remoteness Area

This is based on the SA1 of the school location using the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) Remoteness Structure. The Regional, Remote and Very Remote areas have been grouped into a single Regional/Remote category. No Remoteness Area is available for students who completed the HSC at recognised schools outside Australia.

SES Quartile

This is based on the SA1 of the school location using Socio-Economic Indexes for Australia (SEIFA), 2016, Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage (IRSAD). No SES quartile is available for students who completed the HSC at schools outside Australia.

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