Students flocking to secondary private schools, ABS data shows

The number of students in Australia's schools increased by 1.3%, nearly 50,000 students, between 2013 and 2014, a report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has found. 

However, the growth is not being spread evenly across primary and secondary school levels, and government and non-government sectors. Patrick Corr from the ABS said the biggest increase is in private secondary schools.

"Increasingly, Australian secondary school students are turning to the non-government sector for their education,” Corr said.

"In the government sector, the increase was entirely due to growth in students at the primary level of education, with numbers of secondary students remaining largely unchanged.”

In contrast, Corr added, private school enrolments had increased at both primary and secondary levels.

Last month, the Productivity Commission report revealed a 10% surge in enrolments for private schools while public school enrolments stagnated, suggesting that parents had not been deterred by exorbitant fees and students achieving the same academic results as those in public schools.

“It will be interesting to follow these trends in the next few years particularly with primary student numbers likely to increase considerably in this time following the increase in births in Australia over the last decade," Corr said.

However, while student numbers increased, the number of schools remained “largely static”, the ABS data showed.

"There were 10 less government schools and six more non-government schools, a net reduction of four schools,” Corr said.