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Data Collections Non-Government Schools Census

The Non-Government Schools Census (Census) provides the community and government with information about schools and students in Australia. The annual Census collects information including:

  • the numbers of students and staff
  • students on a visa
  • students with disability
  • Indigenous Australian students.

Census informs part of the My School website, giving parents and the community information about the needs of each school’s students. Government uses census data to calculate funding and create informed and tailored policies for Australian schools.

Census reporting is required under the Australian Education Act 2013. Non-government schools provide Census data in August each year.

Census Instructional Videos

To make Census reporting easier, please select one of the links below to watch our new instructional videos.

  1. Census Collection Overview
  2. Census Upload Tool
  3. Declaring the Census
  4. What is Cohort Data?

Reporting students learning remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions

Due to public health advice/restrictions to address COVID-19 over the Census Reference Period, the department has notified schools subject to state and territory restrictions that they can consider students learning remotely or flexibly as attending the school, for the purposes of the Census in 2021.

For schools not subject to state and territory public health advice/restrictions, students not attending school during the Census Reference Period must not be reported.  Such students must be subject to a Special Circumstances Application (to request they be included in the final Census count).

We are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation across the country. Where schools are subject to further public health advice/restrictions, we will communicate with approved authorities directly by email with advice about how to report affected students learning remotely or flexibly.

Other special COVID-19 provisions removed in 2021

The 2020 Census introduced special provisions relating to the evidence requirements for students with disability. The following provisions have been removed for 2021:

  • The requirement to have documented evidence of the school making adjustment(s) for a student to address the functional impact of a disability was reduced from a minimum of 10 weeks to 6 weeks for 2020 only.
  • Some student cohorts were exempt from the requirement for schools to collect evidence of ongoing monitoring and review of adjustments for students with disability for 2020 only.

All non-government schools that receive recurrent funding from the Australian Government must complete the Census. Both system and diocesan offices within approved system authorities must also complete the Census.

In SchoolsHUB, you can submit your Census data in two ways. You can enter data into each Census reporting field manually, or you can enter all information at once by using a template excel file through the Census data upload tool.

To access Census reporting:

  • Step 1: Open the SchoolsHUB homepage, click Sign in.
  • Step 2: Enter your email or user name and password, click Sign in.
  • Step 3: In the Data collection progress table on your SchoolsHUB user dashboard, click Non-government Schools Census 2021.
  • Step 4: The Non-government Schools Census 2021 will open on the My organisations tab. Next to this is the Data Upload tab.

Manual Reporting

To manually enter your data in each field, click on the school name you wish to report on and click start.

Data Upload

To upload your data using our formatted template, click on the Data Upload tab. This page provides a link to the preformatted template and instructions about how to upload your data using this tool.

Watch a video to find out more about the Census Upload Tool.

The Census Upload Tool is an excel document that contains Macros. Macros are a series of commands used to automate and perform tasks that may otherwise take a significant amount of time. The Census Upload Tool uses macros to convert data from a format that is easy to enter and read to an XML file required to upload into SchoolsHUB.

To protect you from viruses, Excel will block all macros by default. After opening a file you trust, Excel gives you the option to enable macros for that document. If you try to use Census Upload Tool without first enabling macros, you will get an error message saying the content is disabled.

When you open the file using:

  • Excel 2010 or later, a yellow message bar should appear at the top of the page with a shield icon and an Enable Content button. Click Enable Content to allow macros to run in the Census Upload Tool
  • older versions of Excel, a light blue message bar appears at the top of the page with a shield icon and a security warning. Click Options. A pop-up window will appear, select Enable this content and OK.

If the warning bar does not appear when you open the document, you will need to update your macros setting manually. More information about enabling Macros is available on the Microsoft support website.

Security settings at your school or office may prevent you from changing these settings yourself. Talk to your school’s IT professionals for assistance with enabling macros for the Census Upload Tool.

Before starting, you must have an active SchoolsHUB account with access to your location, school, diocesan office, system office, or approved authority. The table below shows Census roles available in SchoolsHUB. For further information on SchoolsHUB registration and access, visit the Using SchoolsHUB help and support page.

I want to… Data Reporter Data Declarer Authority Representative

View previous Census returns

Enter data into the Census

Declare the Census

Watch a video to find out more about the Data Declarer Role

Monday, 2 August 2021 - Census opens

Friday, 6 August 2021 - Census day

Friday, 13 August 2021 - Census declaration due

Friday, 20 August 2021 - Special Circumstances Applications due

Students

The Census Reference Period for students is the 20 school days leading up to and including Census Day, Friday, 6 August 2021.

A pupil free day is part of the Reference Period. School holidays, public holidays, and weekends are not part of the Reference Period.

Staff

Report all staff employed or engaged during the Reference Period (the five school days leading up to and including Census Day).

The information collected in the Census is different for each school or location. The below table outlines the information each organisation type will provide.

Characteristics

Regular and special assistance schools

Special schools

System / diocesan offices

Student year levels

Student ages as of 1 July 2021

Student age brackets (11 years & younger / 12 years older) as of 1 July 2021

Full-time or part-time students

Students on visas

Overseas students

Indigenous students

Students with disability

Boarding students

Distance education students

Staff Gender

Indigenous staff

Full time or part time staff

Staff type

The Census consists of the following data entry pages:

  1. Contacts: you will confirm your location's details, your contact details and complete the acknowledgment of obligations.
  2. Getting Started: you will provide some information specific to the school location to make it easier to provide your Census data.
  3. Enter Data: you will provide your Census data for staff and students by each of the year level combinations required based on your answers at Getting Started.
  4. Review: you will check your data entered is correctly recorded.
  5. Declaration: you (or your Approved Authority Representative) will complete a legal declaration about the accuracy and completeness of the data you have provided for the school/location.

Note: The data entry pages shown will vary depending on your user access level. 

Watch a video to find out more about the Census and Reporting Cohort Data

We're here to help, contact us if you have any queries.

Non-Government Schools Census

  • phone: 1800 677 027 (option 3)
  • email us a support request through SchoolsHUB.

SchoolsHUB technical support

  • phone: 1800 677 027 (option 1)
  • email us a support request through SchoolsHUB.

Students with disability

Legal obligations

You are required to complete the Census under section 77 of the Australian Education Act 2013. Providing Census data is an ongoing requirement for approved authorities of non-government schools. Failure to complete the Census on time and through the requested channel may result in the department varying or revoking an approved authority’s approval or delaying recurrent funding.

Providing false or misleading Census information to the Commonwealth is a serious offence and may result in prosecution under Section 137.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.

Recordkeeping and Census Post Enumeration

Your approved authority must maintain records verifying the eligibility of all students reported in the Census for a minimum of seven years. This is a requirement under section 37 of the Australian Education Regulation 2013 (the Regulation).

Each year after the Census, the department conducts the Post Enumeration exercise to review a sample of schools’ Census records. If the department selects a school for Post Enumeration, participation is mandatory under section 39 of the Regulation.

Privacy information

You must inform parents, guardians and staff about the department’s use of Census data. A privacy notice is available on SchoolsHUB. The privacy notice provides information on how we will handle the personal information collected in the Census.

The department uses information collected in the Census under our privacy policy. We collect, hold, use, and disclose personal information for a lawful purpose that is reasonably necessary or directly related to one or more of our functions or activities or where otherwise required or authorised by law. We will only use your personal information for secondary purposes according to the Privacy Act 1988.

For queries or more information about privacy-related matters, please email privacy@dese.gov.au.

Eligible students

Students are eligible to be reported in the Census if they meet all the following criteria:

  • the student is enrolled at the school on Census Day (6 August 2021)
  • the student is enrolled in a year level the school is approved to provide at that location
  • the student has a pattern of regular attendance at the school, or at the school generally, during the year
  • the student attends the school for at least one day during the Census Reference Period

Do not report students who did not attend during the Reference Period. You may submit a separate Special Circumstances application to request these students be included in your final Census count.

Ineligible students

Students ineligible to be reported in the Census are students who:

  • did not attend for any part of the Census Reference Period
  • are enrolled but did not attend in the year leading up and including Census Day
  • last attended the school location before Census Day and will not be returning until 2022 or later
  • unenrolled or ceased attending the school location before Census Day
  • are not eligible to enrol at a school location based on the relevant state and territory requirements
  • did not study school subjects (from foundation (Year 1 minus 1) to year 12)
  • either do not have a visa or are prohibited from engaging in studies as a condition of a visa
  • are on a visitor’s visa and in Australia for less than six months
  • are on exchange and at the school location for a period shorter than six months
  • are on exchange and have completed their formal schooling in their own country
  • do not study any normal school subjects and only participate in apprenticeships, English as a second language courses, TAFE courses, tertiary subjects, work placements, or a combination of such activities.

Special Circumstances Application to include a student in Census

Students who did not attend during the Census Reference Period are not eligible for reporting in the Census. Where students did not attend during the Reference Period, but otherwise meet the Census eligibility criteria may still qualify to be included in Census due to their special circumstances. You must make a separate Special Circumstances Application for these students.

How you submit Special Circumstances Applications to us is currently being reviewed by the department. Regardless of the outcome of this review, the eligibility rules and required information will not change. To best prepare your application, please ensure you have the following supporting documents:

  • Evidence of the student's intent and the date they are returning to school.
  • For long periods of absence, evidence the school has engaged the student in education.
  • If attending another school while absent, evidence of how the "away" school has reported (or not reported) the student in their Census.

All applications and supporting documents for Special Circumstances Applications must be submitted by Friday, 20 August 2021. More information about the Special Circumstances Application will be available shortly through email updates and news updates on SchoolsHUB.

Full-time students

Full-time students must be enrolled and participating in primary or secondary education at the school location. They must be studying at a full-time workload (as prescribed by the relevant State or Territory).

Part-time students

Part-time students must be enrolled and participating in primary or secondary education at the school location. They must have a workload less than that of a full-time student (as prescribed by the relevant state or territory).

Part-time students must have an FTE between 0.1 and 0.9.

TAFE, Tertiary Studies and alternative pathways activities

Students may be undertaking school-based subjects while also undertaking alternative pathways activities accredited by the state or territory as contributing to the Year 12 certificate (or equivalent). Alternative pathways may include:

  • apprenticeships
  • school-based apprenticeships
  • traineeships
  • TAFE courses
  • university courses
  • work placements

You must only report the student’s school-based subject workload if your state or territory government does not recognise the alternative pathway as contributing to a Year 12 Certificate or equivalent.

Age

Student ages must be reported in the Census as of 1 July 2021.

Gender

The Australian Government recognises that individuals may identify and be recognised within the community as a gender other than the sex they were assigned at birth or during infancy or as a gender not exclusively male or female.

Options to report students are male (M), female (F) and indeterminate, intersex, or unspecified (X)

Indigenous students

Indigenous students are students of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent who self-identify as and are acknowledged by the community in which they live as being of that descent.

Indigenous non-stated

Parents may choose not to identify a student as Indigenous or non-Indigenous, report these students as Indigenous non-stated.

Options to report Indigenous students are yes (Y), no (N) and non-stated (N/S)

Day students

A day student is a student who attends school during normal business hours only. They are not engaged in distance education and are not accommodated in the school's residential facilities. 

Boarding students

A boarding student attends the school location and is accommodated in the school’s residential facilities rather than staying with a parent or guardian.

Distance education students

Distance education students can only be reported at schools the relevant state or territory has approved for distance education.

A distance education student is a student who:

  • resides in the state or territory in which the school is located
  • the state or territory provides funding for the school (other than financial assistance provided to the state or territory for the school under the Act), for primary education or secondary education for students enrolled and receiving distance education from the school
  • is not approved as a home school student
  • is not an overseas student

Students on visas

Students on visas are students who are not Australian citizens. This includes both permanent residents and New Zealand citizens.

Students on bridging visas

Where a student may present a bridging visa, check if their previous substantive visa is still valid at Census day. If the substantive visa is valid, the student must be reported according to the substantive visa. If the substantive visa is no longer valid, report the student according to the subclass of their bridging visa.

Overseas students

Overseas students are students who are on a visa that permits them to travel to Australia to undertake education.

Overseas student visa subclasses include 500, 570, 571, 572, 573, 574, and 575.

Overseas students do not include:

  1. a dependent of a person who is receiving sponsorship or scholarship for the purpose of undertaking a course provided by an institution in Australia that:
    1. is a Table A provider or a Table B provider (within the meaning of the Higher Education Support Act 2003); and
    2. is meeting the full cost of the education component of the course;
  2. a person who is undertaking a course of study provided by an institution or body in Australia under a Student Exchange Program registered by the relevant education authority in the state or territory where the person is undertaking the Program; or
  3. a person, or a dependent of a person, who is receiving sponsorship or scholarship from the Commonwealth for the purpose of undertaking a course provided by an institution or other body or person in Australia. For more information on the type of visa a student is on, you may consult with the Department of Home Affairs.

Can I report exchange students in the Census?

Exchange students are students participating in a Student Exchange Program registered by the state or territory education authority.

To be eligible for the Census, an exchange student must:

  • meet the Census eligibility criteria
  • be on exchange at the school location for more than six months
  • not have completed formal schooling in their country of origin.

The department collects data on students with disability using the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) model. Report a student with disability if they meet the following criteria:

  • the student meets the Census eligibility criteria and has been reported in the 2021 Census
  • the student has a disability as defined in appendix 4 of the 2021 NCCD Guidelines
  • the student has been provided with an adjustment(s) for a minimum of ten weeks of school education (in the 12 months leading up to and including Census Day) to address the functional impact of a disability.

The school must ensure that it has documented evidence of adjustment(s) provided. For more information on the types of supporting evidence, see section C.4 of the 2021 NCCD Guidelines. For guidance on what constitutes ten weeks of school education as it relates to the NCCD, see section C.2.1 of the 2021 NCCD Guidelines.

What information is reported for each student with disability?

In reporting students with disability, you will provide the department with the following information:

  • disability category (see appendix 2 of the 2021 NCCD guidelines)
    • Physical
    • Cognitive
    • Social-Emotional
    • Sensory
    • None.
  • level of adjustment (see selecting the level of adjustment)
    • Support provided within quality differentiated teaching practice (QDTP)
    • Supplementary
    • Substantial
    • Extensive
    • None.

Visit the NCCD Portal for further information and resources. Useful information includes:

Eligible Staff

  • staff who work with students from Foundation (Year 1 – minus 1) to Year 12
  • staff with an FTE greater than 0.1
  • staff absent from their position for less than four weeks (excluding school holidays)
  • emergency and casual relief staff (teaching or non-teaching) are only included in the Census if they are employed in the position of a staff member who is absent for four continuous weeks or longer (excluding school holidays for teaching staff)
  • staff employed under government-sponsored employment schemes.

Ineligible staff

  • cleaners
  • boarding staff
  • tutors not employed by the school
  • staff who only work outside regular school hours (for example, before or after school care).

Report staff according to their ‘major function’ rather than their type of appointment. If a staff member spends 70 per cent of their time at work teaching and 30 per cent on administration duties, report them under their ‘major function’ of teaching. Include a staff member in either the full-time or part-time only section of the staff tables.

Executive staff (system/diocesan offices only)

Executive staff undertake functions such as Directors, Inspectors, Superintendents or Administrators.

Principal

A principal is a person nominated by the approved authority as being responsible for the overall control and administration of the school.

You may report different principals at each campus if your school has multiple campuses. If one principal works across multiple campuses, report the principal as part-time at each campus (total FTE must not exceed 1.0).

Teaching staff

Teaching staff impart the school curriculum and provide information and support services to students. Teaching staff spend most of their work time with students either in direct class contact or on an individual basis. These include:

  • deputy principals
  • teachers
  • permanent relief teachers
  • specialist subject teachers
  • librarians
  • chaplains imparting the school curriculum
  • undergraduate students working as teaching staff.

Specialist support

Specialist support functions are of particular benefit to students or teaching staff in developing the school curriculum. While these staff may spend most of their time in contact with students, they are not employed or engaged to impart the school curriculum. These include:

  • student support services, such as career adviser or student counsellor or liaison officer
  • educational development, such as staff and curriculum development
  • school psychologists, guidance officers, social workers, pathway planning officer
  • sports coordinator
  • school nurse.

Building operations and other

Building operations, general maintenance and other staff are those involved in the care of buildings and grounds. These include those staff providing associated technical services and other janitorial staff. This includes:

  • janitors
  • building or grounds maintenance staff
  • technical services and general maintenance staff
  • canteen staff
  • IT support staff
  • staff not included in other staffing categories.

Administrative and clerical

Administrative and clerical staff are responsible for the general administrative functions at the school or in the office. This includes:

  • classroom assistants and teacher aides
  • library assistants
  • bursars/school administrators
  • accountants.

Gender

The Australian Government recognises that individuals may identify and be recognised within the community as a gender other than the sex they were assigned at birth or during infancy or as a gender not exclusively male or female.

Indigenous staff

Indigenous staff are staff of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent who self-identify as and are acknowledged by the community in which they live as being of that descent.

Indigenous non-stated

Staff may choose not to identify as Indigenous or non-Indigenous, report these staff as Indigenous non-stated.

Eligible staff with a full-time workload at the school location are reported as full-time staff. These staff have an FTE of 1.0.

Eligible staff with a less than full-time workload at the school location are reported as part-time staff. These staff have an FTE between 0.1 and 0.9.

The Census Post Enumeration is a follow-up exercise to validate whether Census information provided by schools is accurate, complete, and reliable. It forms part of the department’s Schools Funding Assurance Framework.

The department visits a sample of non-government schools each year and verifies the accuracy of their Census information by assessing their enrolment records. Based on these assessments, adjustments to census information and funding are made, where applicable.

Participation for schools selected in the Census Post Enumeration is a requirement under the Australian Regulation 2013.

The Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) provides the community and government with information about Australian school students who receive adjustments due to disability. Adjustments help a student with disability take part in education on the same basis as other students.

A school's Approved Authority must provide information for each student with disability at the school. This includes:

  • the student's level of adjustment
  • the student's broad category of disability
  • the student's year of schooling
  • for a part-time student, the fraction of the full-time study load that the student is undertaking.

Funding from the Australian Government for students with disability is based on the NCCD. NCCD data is also used to inform improvements to students with disability programs. The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) annually publish high-level, de-identified NCCD data.

NCCD reporting is required under the Australian Education Regulation 2013. Non-government schools provide NCCD data in August each year.

Find out more about the NCCD