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New Data Shows Families Continue to Exercise Schooling Choice

02 February 2017

Families are continuing to support the diversity of choice in Australia’s schooling system with new data showing growth in both the number of students and schools in the independent schooling sector.

New figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reveal that at a national level the independent schooling sector recorded the largest change in school numbers between 2015 and 2016 growing by 14 to 1,042 schools. Independent student numbers also grew by more than 7,000 over the same period.

In Queensland, the ABS data showed that in 2016 independent schools:

  • continued to cater for about 15 percent of all Queensland students
  • continued to enrol about 19 percent of all secondary students
  • enrolled a total of 117,416 students
  • grew by three (3) schools to 195 schools

Independent Schools Queensland Executive Director David Robertson said in recent years Queensland had witnessed an increase in schools in the independent sector that provided specialised programs for targeted groups of students, such as: disengaged youth; high school students seeking customised trade training; or students with disability.

“In high growth areas, such as the Gold Coast and in and around Brisbane, the cost of purchasing land is becoming prohibitive for many not-for-profit organisations or groups seeking to start a new independent school. This has contributed to a slowing in the growth of new independent schools,” Mr Robertson said.

“Independent schools are not only vital to maintaining a strong, diverse and vibrant education system in Queensland, they are also important economic contributors, supporting 31,000 full-time jobs and adding more than $4.1 billion to the state economy,” he said.

“Independent schools look forward to working with the Australian and Queensland Governments to ensure parent choice in schooling and government support for all students remains a vital component of our education system.”

Data sources: ABS, Schools, Australia, 2016 and Economic Significance of Independent Schools to the Queensland Economy, 2015.

Media contact: Justine Nolan M: 0428 612 315 E:

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