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New statistics reveal continued drift to private schools

Private schools are soaking up all the growth in students across Australia although NSW government schools have shown a surprising increase in numbers over the past year.

The latest Bureau of Statistics snapshot of the nation's classrooms shows the number of NSW Catholic systemic schools fell (586, down 2), and private schools were unchanged at 318, suggesting these schools are absorbing students, on average, and growing.

The spike in new private schools, which occurred in the first years of the Howard Government, has flattened.

Ten years ago there were 757,000 students in NSW government schools. Last year there were 754,000. Over the same period, the number of students in NSW non-government schools jumped 58,000 to 351,000.

The drift from public to private schools shows no sign of slowing. In the decade to 2002, the proportion slipped from 72.1% to 68.4% of all students.

Around Australia, an additional 25,000 students enrolled last year in non-government schools, up to 1.04 million. In 1982, there were 712,000 private school students.

Sydney Morning Herald

Australian Bureau of Statistics | Schools, Australia
Schools fight to keep up with demand (18/7/02)
Catholic schools facing crisis of popularity (9/5/02)
Catholic Schools 1972-2000: A Longtitudinal Perspective (Br Marcellin Flynn FMS), Powerpoint presentation/discussion on NSW CEC site
Why Catholic Schools Work (Br Ambrose Payne FSC)
Scandal's fallout: the new struggle of Catholic schools [in USA] (Christian Science Monitor)

27 Feb 2003