Victorian Independent schools record another year of strong enrolment growth
Wednesday 15 February 2023
Close to 160,000 students attend a Victorian Independent school, according to the latest official figures that show strong growth in low-fee Independent schools serving the needs of families from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
Despite economic pressures on family budgets, an additional 4,507 students enrolled in Victorian Independent schools in 2022, bringing the total to more than 159,000. This is an increase of 2.9 per cent over the previous year when numbers grew by 2.3 per cent.
The continuing rate of growth, outlined in Australian Bureau of Statistics data released today, outstrips that in Government schools (which grew by 0.1 per cent) while Catholic school enrolments slipped slightly by 0.1 per cent. Close to 16 per cent of all Victorian students now attend an independent school.
“The numbers further confirm that parents value the autonomy and flexibility of Independent schools, giving them the confidence to choose a school that best meets the individual needs of their children.”
— Michelle Green, Chief Executive, Independent Schools Victoria
‘The numbers further confirm that parents value the autonomy and flexibility of Independent schools, giving them the confidence to choose a school that best meets the individual needs of their children,’ Michelle Green, Chief Executive of Independent Schools Victoria (ISV), said today.
‘The figures shed light on the changing face of education, and they highlight the diversity of more than 230 Independent schools across the state,’ Ms Green said.
ISV’s analysis of the figures, collated in the national school census last August, shows that half of Victorian Independent schools are classified as low fee, using the Victorian Government’s definition of one that charges $7500 a year or less.
Enrolments in this category grew by 2,635 students last year, accounting for close to 60 per cent of all growth in the Victorian Independent sector.
Close to 60,000 students at Victorian Independent schools come from families in lower socio-economic backgrounds, based on their capacity to contribute to their children’s education, the measure used by the Federal Government when calculating funding for non-government schools.
Growth remained strong in high fee schools (those charging more than $20,000), where enrolments grew by close to 1,000 students, an increase of 1.9 per cent over 2021. These schools account for one third of all enrolments in the Victorian Independent sector.
Local government areas recording the strongest growth were Moorabool Shire between Bacchus Marsh and Ballarat, west of Melbourne, and the City of Hume in Melbourne’s outer north.
Islamic schools maintained their recent pattern of strong growth, enrolling almost 1000 new students, and now educate close to 16,000 young Victorians.
Over the last three years, enrolments in the state’s Independent schools have grown by 5.3 per cent and by 10.8 per cent over the last five years.
The Victorian figures are reflected nationally, with 641,318 students enrolled in Independent schools after numbers grew by 3.3 per cent last year, the highest rate of growth across all school sectors.
Analysis of the figures shows
- More than 66,000 primary and 93,000 secondary students attend an Independent school.
- The falling number of full-fee paying overseas students (1,022, down from 1,375 in 2021, and 1,669 in 2019) shows the lingering effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on overseas enrolments.
- Close to 88 per cent of students in the Independent sector attend a co-educational school.
- Close to 80 per cent are enrolled in Melbourne metropolitan schools.
- Victorian Independent schools employ close to 15,000 teachers and more than 8,000 general staff.
Media and Communications Advisor
Independent Schools Victoria
0417 562 924