Schools: InBrief mid-year census 2016

This bulletin was originally published 30 June 2017.

Image: Schools: InBrief mid-year census 2016


CESE’s Schools: InBrief mid year census, 2016 bulletin summarises the results of the census of students in NSW government schools, and the census of NSW non-government schools undertaken by the Australian Government Department of Education.

The mid year census includes data on NSW Government schools (preschool, primary, secondary, central/community and special) and students (age at 1 July, grades, full-time, part-time, gender and Aboriginality).


NSW Government

Full-time equivalent (FTE) enrolments
Primary enrolments 475,073.0
Secondary enrolments 300,069.9
SSP enrolments 5,457.0
Total enrolments 780,599.9
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
Total Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander enrolments 56,580.5
Percent Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander enrolments 7.2%
Part-time students
Number of part-time students 2,173.0
FTE enrolments 1,342.9
Preschool students
Number of preschool students 4,446.0
FTE enrolments 2,395.7
NSW government schools
Primary and infant schools 1,608
Central/community schools 66
Secondary schools 401
Schools for specific purposes (SSPs) 112
Environmental education centres (EECs) 23
Total government schools 2,210
Preschools attached to primary/infant schools 99
Separate preschools 1
Total preschools 100

NSW non-government

Full-time equivalent (FTE) enrolments
Primary enrolments 204,513.5
Secondary enrolments 209,074.2
Total enrolments 413,587.7
NSW non-government schools
Primary schools 494
Secondary schools 142
Primary/secondary schools 239
Special schools 54
Total non-government schools 929

Enrolments (FTE) by ABS Statistical Area Level 4 groups

In 2016, 57.3 per cent of government students were enrolled in schools within the Sydney area. The proportion of primary students enrolled in Sydney schools was 58.5 per cent. All Statistical Area Level 4 groups experienced an increase in primary enrolments in 2016 from 2015. Sydney-West and Sydney-North recorded the largest growth in primary enrolments for the third year in a row, each with an increase of 2,117 and 1,604 enrolments respectively between 2015 and 2016. For secondary enrolments only two area groups recorded a marked increase in enrolments. Sydney North rose by 1.6 per cent or 449 students following a rise of 1.6 per cent in 2015. Sydney West increased by 0.9 per cent. All other area groups were stable or recorded a decline of between 0.6 and 1.6 per cent.

Aboriginal enrolments (FTE)

The majority (77.0 per cent) of NSW government Aboriginal students are enrolled outside of Sydney. Although the six Sydney statistical area groupings account for 57.3 per cent of all enrolments in NSW, only 23.0 per cent of NSW Aboriginal students are enrolled in Sydney. Overall, Aboriginal student enrolments have increased by 2,430.1 students or 4.5 per cent from 54,150.4 in 2015 to 56,580.5 in 2016. North West NSW recorded the largest increase of 543.8 students, from 13,895.4 in 2015 to 14,439.2 in 2016.

2016 enrolments (FTE)

The total number of full-time equivalent students in NSW government schools increased by 8,621.8 or 1.1 per cent, from 771,978.1 in 2015 to 780,599.9 in 2016. This is the eighth year in a row that total government school enrolments have increased after a sustained downward trend between 1998 and 2008. The largest increases in enrolments were in Year 4 and Year 5. Year 4 enrolments rose by 4.2 per cent from 64,171 students in 2015 to 66,884 in 2016, while Year 5 enrolments rose by 4.6 per cent from 60,670 students in 2015 to 63,456 in 2016.

Government enrolment share (FTE)

For the last three years, the enrolment growth of government schools surpassed the enrolment growth of non-government schools. Government enrolments increased by 8,622 in 2016, compared with an increase of 3,961 for non-government schools. The growth in government enrolments from 2015 to 2016 is driven by a large increase in government primary aged enrolments of by 9,306 students. Secondary students decreased by 801 students from 2015 to 2016.

Government preschool

The number of children enrolled in government preschools increased from 4,278 in 2015 to 4,446 in 2016. FTE enrolments also increased, from 2,306.6 in 2015 to 2,395.7 in 2016. Aboriginal preschool enrolments rose by 12 students or 2.1 per cent, from 565 in 2015 to 577 in 2016.

Early intervention preschool children

Enrolments in early intervention classes decreased by 3 students, from 710 in 2015 to 707 in 2016. The percentage of students enrolled in an early intervention program who were Aboriginal increased from 12.4 per cent in 2015 to 13.9 percent in 2016.

Apparent retention rate

NSW government apparent retention rates generally increased or were unchanged in 2016 compared with 2015, for all students and for girls. However, apparent retention for boys from Year 7 to 11, Year 10 to 11 and Year 10 to 12, declined by around 1 percentage point on average from 2015 to 2016. 2016 continues the highest retention rates since 2005 across most cohort groupings, with the exception of Year 10 to 11 and Year 10 to 12, where apparent retention rates decreased by 0.3 percentage points and 0.5 percentage points respectively.

For more information

To access data on NSW government school student attendance, visit the NSW Education Data Hub.
Return to top of page Back to top