Schools: InBrief mid-year census 2017

This bulletin was originally published 02 May 2018.

Image: Schools: InBrief mid-year census 2017


CESE’s Schools: InBrief mid year census, 2017 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, combined, special) and students (age at 1 July, grades, full time, part time, gender, and Aboriginality).


NSW government

Full-time equivalent (FTE) enrolments
Primary enrolments 484,645.0
Secondary enrolments 300,832.8
SSP enrolments 5,562.0
Total enrolments 791,039.8
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
Total A&TSI enrolments 59,214.2
Percent A&TSI enrolments 7.5%
Part-time students
Number of part-time students 1,930.0
FTE enrolments 1,206.8
Preschool students
Number of preschool students 4,442.0
FTE enrolments 2,407.4
NSW government schools
Primary and infants schools 1,606
Central/community schools 66
Secondary schools 401
Schools for specific purposes (SSP) 113
Environmental education centres (EEC) 23
Total government schools 2,209
Preschool attached to primary/infants schools 99
Separate preschools 1
Total preschools 100

NSW non-government

Full-time equivalent (FTE) enrolments
Primary enrolments 206,833.3
Secondary enrolments 210,597.0
Total enrolments 417,430.3
NSW non-government schools
Primary schools 495
Secondary schools 141
Primary/secondary schools 243
Special schools 57
Total non-government schools 936

Enrolments (FTE) by ABS Statistical Area Level 4 groups

In 2017, 57.8 per cent of government students were enrolled in schools within the Sydney area. The proportion of primary students enrolled in Sydney schools was 58.9 per cent. All Statistical Area Level 4 groups experienced an increase in primary enrolments in 2017 from 2016. Sydney-West recorded the largest growth in primary enrolments for the third year in a row, with an increase of 2,432 enrolments between 2016 and 2017.

Aboriginal enrolments (FTE)

The majority (77.2 per cent) of NSW government Aboriginal students are enrolled outside of Sydney. Although the six Sydney statistical area groupings account for 57.8 per cent of all enrolments in NSW, only 22.8 per cent of NSW Aboriginal students are enrolled in Sydney. Overall, Aboriginal student enrolments have increased by 2,633.7 students or 4.7 per cent from 56,580.5 in 2016 to 59,214.2 in 2017. North West NSW recorded the largest increase of 735.9 Aboriginal students, from 14,439.2 in 2016 to 15,175.1 in 2017.

2017 enrolments (FTE)

The total number of full-time equivalent students in NSW government schools increased by 10,439.9 or 1.3 per cent, from 780,599.9 in 2016 to 791,039.8 in 2017. This is the ninth year in a row that total government school enrolments have increased, after a sustained downward trend between 1998 and 2008.

Government enrolment share (FTE)

Overall enrolments in NSW have increased by more than 8,000 each year since 2010, and by more than 12,000 in each of the last five years. Since 2006, the total number of students enrolled in education in NSW has increased by 98,153 students, driven by changes to the NSW school leaving age and higher birth rate.

Government enrolment share (FTE)

NSW government enrolment share by education level. Enrolment share for primary students rose by 0.2 percentage points from 70.0 per cent in 2016 to 70.2 per cent in 2017. This was the fourth increase following over twenty years of falling primary enrolment share. Despite increasing enrolments, the secondary enrolment share fell slightly from 59.2 per cent in 2016 to 59.1 per cent in 2017. This indicates that non-government secondary enrolments increased by more than government secondary enrolments.

Government preschool

The number of children enrolled in government preschools decreased by four children from 4,446 in 2016 to 4,442 in 2017. However, FTE enrolments increased slightly, from 2,396.0 in 2016 to 2,407.4 in 2017, which indicates that some children were enrolled for more days in 2017. Aboriginal preschool enrolments accounted for 15.0 per cent of FTE enrolments in 2017, an increase of 1.0 percentage point since 2016. Aboriginal preschool enrolments rose by 22 students or 3.8 per cent, from 577 in 2016 to 599 in 2017.

Early intervention preschool children

Enrolments in early intervention classes increased by seven students, from 707 in 2016 to 714 in 2017. The percentage of students enrolled in an early intervention program who were Aboriginal decreased from 13.9 per cent in 2016 to 11.0 per cent in 2017.

Apparent retention rate

The NSW government apparent retention rates generally decreased or were unchanged in 2017 compared with 2016, with the exception of a few cohort groupings. Apparent retention for boys from Year 7 to 12 and Year 10 to 12, increased by 0.4 and 0.2 percentage points respectively. The apparent retention rate for girls from Year 7 to 12 and Year 10 to 12 increased by 1.8 and 1.2 percentage points respectively from 2016 to 2017.

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