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Enrolment and Campus Growth Affirm Health of Independent Sector

Queensland’s independent schooling sector has experienced its strongest annual enrolment growth in five years with healthy increases in the critical intake years of Prep and Year 7 also signalling positive future trends.

The analysis of 2018 school enrolment data was presented at the launch of Independent Schools Queensland’s (ISQ) annual Strategic Briefings Series in Brisbane today.

ISQ Executive Director David Robertson told more than 60 independent school leaders that total full-time equivalent enrolments at independent schools increased by 1.7% in 2018, rising by almost 2,000 students to 120,873.

This is almost double the growth recorded between 2016 and 2017 (0.9%), more than triple the 2015-16 rate (0.5%) and above 2013-14 (1.4%). The sector has maintained its share of all Queensland school enrolments at 14.7% since 2016.

The Brisbane event is the first of 12 briefings Mr Robertson is giving to independent schools across Queensland on the state of play in school education.

“As a whole, Queensland’s independent schooling sector is showing a positive comeback after difficult economic times, however some regions continue to face challenges based on local economic conditions, drought and population changes,” he said.

Mr Robertson said the sector could also draw confidence from enrolment growth in Prep (2.6%) and Year 7 (3.5%) between 2017 and 2018.

“Enrolment numbers in these critical school intake years are important indicators of future enrolment numbers in independent schools,” he said.

Mr Robertson said Queensland parents valued school choice with the independent sector recording the greatest increase in school numbers of any sector in the past 10 years - rising from 181 in 2008 to 205 in 2018.

“However, these figures don’t tell the sector’s real growth story. Over the past five years there has been a strong trend for existing independent schools to establish new campuses instead of stand-alone schools. When growth in school sites/campuses is compared over the same 10-year period, the increase is much greater with school sites rising 21 percent, from 201 to 243,” he said.

During the event Mr Robertson also updated school leaders on the latest developments in federal school funding and the new senior assessment and tertiary entrance changes taking effect in Queensland from 2019.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justine Nolan | 0428 612 315 | jnolan@isq.qld.edu.au

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