NSW Education in numbers for 2021

A snapshot of NSW Education reveals the size and scale of our public education system.

Image: NSW public schools, Day 1 2021: a snapshot.

The NSW public education system – one of the biggest education systems in the world – has more than 823,000 students attending 2,220 public schools across NSW this year.

The annual Day 1 2021 snapshot has shown confidence in public education continues to grow with 70,000 students starting Kindergarten in a NSW public school this year and 56,000 students starting Year 7.

There are 94,067 teachers and staff dedicated to supporting students this year, including 35 new principals taking on a school leadership role.

A record $17.4 billion in funding is being delivered this financial year which includes support for school infrastructure programs and student wellbeing with an increase in school counsellor and student support officer positions from July.

Day 1 2021: a snapshot

Image: NSW public schools: total students.

Our students

Total students

  • 823,000 students from Kindergarten to Year 12 in our classrooms
  • 70,000 students starting Kindergarten
  • 497,000 students entering primary school
  • 56,000 students starting Year 7
  • 326,000 students entering high school
Image: NSW public schools: student location and cultural background.

Where can our students be found across NSW?

  • 75% of our students are in metropolitan areas
  • 24.5% of our students are in regional areas
  • 0.5% of our students are in remote areas

Our students also have varied cultural backgrounds

  • 8% of our students are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • 37% have a language background other than English
Image: NSW Public Schools: our schools.

Our schools

  • 2,220 public schools in NSW
  • 10 new and upgraded schools for Day 1 Term 1 2021
Image: NSW public schools: our staff.

Our staff

  • 94,067 teachers and staff dedicated to students in 2021
  • 35 new principals (as of 25 January 2021)
Image: NSW public schools: staff scholarships.


  • 40 scholarships awarded under the 2020-21 Early Childhood Education Scholarships Program
  • 60 teach.Rural scholarships offered
  • 89 Inclusive Practice in Education scholarships offered
Image: NSW public schools: increasing student support.


  • $88.4 million for counsellors, student support offices and mental health resources in every high school by 2022
  • From July 2021 school counselling positions increase to 1,154
  • From July 2021, student support officers increase to 390
  • 100 Wellbeing Health In-reach Nurse Coordinators supporting up to 500 schools
Image: NSW public schools: increasing student support.

Increasing student support

  • The department’s dedicated face-to-face and telepsychology counselling service will commence in Term 1 with 867 students in 15 remote NSW public schools having access to school counselling support.
  • Ongoing partnerships with leading mental health and wellbeing organisations to provide professional learning to school staff and specialised programs for students.
Image: NSW public schools: record funding.

Record funding delivered to schools in 2021

  • A record $17.4 billion total funding delivered for NSW public schools in 2020-2021 (recurrent + capital)
  • $1.3 billion needs-based funding, $50 million above 2020
Image: NSW public schools: investing in infrastructure programs.

School infrastructure programs

  • A total of $7 billion over the next four years for school infrastructure programs
  • 160 school integration projects to improve accessibility for Day 1 Term 1 2021
  • 194 Sustainable Schools Grant projects were funded totalling $2.5 million in 2020
  • More than 12,000 solar PV panels installed across 80 schools which generates electricity to power over 1,000 homes
  • 2,220 school sites registered for the Service NSW COVID Safe Check-in app
  • $5.8 million in essential hygiene supplies sent to schools in 2020
Image: NSW public schools: investing in our infrastructure programs.

Rural Access Gap program

Target achievements of the Rural Access Gap Program by December 2021:

  • 14,286 teachers in Rural Access Gap schools will have access to a dedicated notebook
  • 85,751 devices distributed to students
  • 5,286 learning spaces will have a modern Main Learning Displays
Image: NSW public schools: Rural Access Gap program.
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