Results from the Education Future Report 2016

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Australians are more educated today than they have been at any other point in history. The number of students completing undergraduate and postgraduate courses today is on the rise and for the first time in Australian history more than half the population aged 15-64 have a post-secondary qualification (51%). Over 70% of the newest wave of high school graduates, Generation Z, are pursuing further education and training, with almost half of them going on to university. How is today’s education system providing for this Generation of lifelong learners? This Friday we are looking forward to co-hosting the Education Future Forum with SCIL, to provide an overview of the current and future trends impacting the Education Sector. Here is a snapshot of some of the current and future trends in primary and secondary schools across Australia, from our Education Future Report 2016, which will be shared in detail at this Friday’s event.


Australia currently has more students enrolled in full-time education than ever before. In 2015 there were 3,730,694 students enrolled in Australian schools. This is a 1.5% increase from 2014 and a significant 14% increase from 2001.

Since 2001, the growth in the total number of students (14%) has far outweighed the growth of actual schools (2%), the result of which has been growth in larger schools (801+ students for primary and 1200+ for secondary). The nature of these growing schools is changing as well, with more students enrolling in Independent schools than ever before.


Since the 1970s there has been a significant rise in the proportion of students enrolling in non-government schools. Whereas non-government schools educated only 22% of all students in 1970, by 2015 that figure had risen to over a third (35%).

While government schools continue to educate the majority of Australian students (65%), enrolments at Catholic (21%) and Independent (14%) schools are on the rise and show that Australians value choice, and today’s parents are prepared to pay for an education if they feel it will align more closely with their values, expectations, and aspirations.


In 2015, there were 382,687 full-time equivalent teaching staff over primary and secondary schools in Australia, which is a growth of 13% since 2005. Of these, 240,882 (63%) taught in Government schools, 72,812 (19%) taught in Catholic schools and 68,994 (18%) in independent schools.

The total number of male teachers has grown between 2005 and 2015 by 3% compared to 18% growth in female teachers over the same period. Comparatively, Government schools have a lower percentage of male teachers than Catholic and Independent schools.


Bringing together the best of McCrindle's research and analytics with SCIL's hands-on experience and innovation, the Education Future Forum is an opportunity for educational leaders and practitioners to engage in the dialogue around the future needs, trends and directions in education. The day will inform and inspire those who are seeking to understand this generation and simultaneously envision a school where the learning captures the hearts and minds of young people. There will also be the opportunity to tour Northern Beaches Christian School, to see students and teachers in action and view the learning spaces.

View the full program
& purchase your ticket here.

Q and A: An ageing population and the birth rate

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Is Australia’s population ageing partly because there are more women remaining childless, mothers having fewer children and overall fewer babies being born?

It is true that Australia’s population is ageing with the midpoint in our population – the median age having increased from 30 to 37 in the span of 3 decades. However this is largely due to increased longevity and not at all to do with declining births.

In fact Australia is in the midst of a baby boom with the numbers of births setting new records this decade- having exceeded 300,000 births per year, every year since 2008. This is almost twice as many births as Australia experienced in 1946- the year that saw the arrival of the first Baby Boomers. While the peak of Australia’s original baby boom occurred in 1961 with a fertility rate of 3.5 (babies per 1,000 women), which is almost twice the current fertility rate of 1.9, total annual births currently exceed the 1961 record of 240,000 births by more than 60,000.

So the current baby boom is much larger than this original 16 year baby boom (1946-1961) and the total Australian births in the 16 years from 2008 will produce almost 5 million babies – around 1.5 million more than the post-war boom.

Not only are there more babies than ever, but there are more women who are mothers as well. There are more than 6.5 million Australian women aged over 18 who have given birth which is almost 70% of them. It is the case that women are having children later in life with the median age of mothers having increased from 25.5 four decades ago to 30.8 today. However the fertility rates have increased not decreased in the last decade, up from 1.7 in the early 2000’s to 1.9 today. And as for the proportion of women in Australia who will have no children in their lifetime – it remains at 1 in 4 which is a figure unchanged over a generation. Therefore of the women who will have children, the average number of children is actually 2.5.

So Australian mothers are more numerous than ever, collectively parenting more children than ever and on average raising between 2 and 3 of this largest generation in Australia’s history.

More information can be found in Mark McCrindle’s book The ABC of XYZ: Understanding The Global Generations.

Q and A: Offline Parenting in an Online World

Friday, October 02, 2015

What are the key strategies to offline parenting in an online world?

Parents today are faced with an unprecedented challenge of raising their children to be engaged offline in a world dominated by online options. A recent study conducted by McCrindle Research showed that whilst 44% of the older generations see the benefit of technology to children in enhancing learning and productivity, two thirds (65%) said that they believe that school aged students today spend too much time on technology.

In a society where digital is default, parents often feel the tension of raising their children in these technologically saturated times yet ensuring that they have the timeless characteristics and qualities to thrive in the offline environment. Parents see firsthand the extraordinary opportunities that technology facilitates, yet their experience tells them that managing their children’s screen time and ensuring they gain life skills and social skills is also essential.

We often forget how quickly this great screen age has emerged. Facebook went public just a decade ago and the tablet devices which facilitate so much learning and interaction such as the iPad arrived just half a decade ago. While many of the benefits to this first-ever digitally-based, wif- connected, social-media driven, global generation are evident, so are some emerging challenges. 1 in 4 Australians aged 15-17 have not participated in any form of physical recreation or sport in the last 12 months and for those aged 18-24 it is 1 in 3. These “screenagers” have a propensity towards increased sedentary lifestyles and based on the current overweight trends amongst Australia’s youth, by 2027, when all of Generation Z have reached adulthood, 78% of males and 62% of females in this generation are likely to be overweight. Young people spending hours in front of screens is not new. Today’s parents averaged around 3 hours of TV time per day during their formative years. However the TV screen is a “lean back” screen and did not generate the same levels of time use, sleep impediments and addictive patterns of the portable, interactive and connected “lean forward” screens of today.

Parents are the key influencers when it comes to shaping the priorities and lifestyle habits of their children, so households where active offline activities are modelled, prioritised and encouraged are likely to see the rewards of these behaviours established in the next generation. Parents have the opportunity to encourage their children to engage in physical recreation not just virtual entertainment, in offline communities’ not just online networks, and face to face interaction not just screen-based communication. And if the modelling and encouraging is too subtle, parents ought remember that they are paying the internet and mobile accounts and they are in charge. Oh, and every modem comes with an off switch!

More on effective parenting strategies can be found in Mark McCrindle’s book The ABC of XYZ: Understanding The Global Generations.

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