In 1969 the proportion of female students staying in school until Year 12 was 24 per cent. Fast forward 50 years and it’s 89 per cent according to a report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
ABS Education and Training Statistics Director, Michelle Ducat, said: “Through this 50 year lens, we’re able to see that between 1969 and 1974, the proportion of girls staying in school until Year 12 rose sharply. This level of Year 12 enrolment then gradually increased through to the high numbers we see today.”
In 2018, the proportion of all students staying in school until Year 12 was 85 per cent. Male students had lower rates than their female peers, at 81 per cent.
The Schools Australia, 2018 report also highlights other changes in Australian schooling over time, including a gradual increase in the share of students enrolled at government schools.
“At the primary school level, 70 per cent of students attend government schools. This recent increase in the overall share of students attending government schools, which we have observed since 2015, is predominantly driven by increasing primary school enrolments. This in turn has been driven by consistently high numbers of births over the last decade,” Ms Ducat said.
“However, historically the proportion of non-government enrolments increases as students transition to secondary schooling so we’ll be watching closely to see whether this trend continues when the current cohort of primary school students transitions into lower secondary school.”
The report also found that although student numbers are increasing, the number of schools has not.
Over the past 50 years the student population increased by almost 1.2 million, but the number of schools has remained steady at around 9,500.