Students are taking on more responsibility in their schools and colleges, and there are more people enrolled than ever before.
But there are also more challenges than ever to ensuring that every child gets the education that is right for them, including the number of schools, the types of teachers, and the type of curriculum.
This article is about the key findings and key statistics.
Key facts The number of students in primary school has more than doubled since 2001, to nearly 3.5 million.
The proportion of students studying the subjects of primary education and early years has also doubled.
In 2011, primary schools accounted for almost 30 per cent of Australian primary education.
In 2021, this proportion rose to 31 per cent.
Around two-thirds of children are in a full-time, post-primary school education.
Around 1.7 million children aged between four and 17 have been enrolled in a primary school in 2021.
A quarter of all children aged five to 17 have a primary education course, up from about half a million in 2001.
Around 40 per cent are in school-based education, which means that they are enrolled in courses or activities, rather than on their own.
The majority of schools have about two-fifths of their students enrolled in secondary education, with a further 2.5 per cent in post-secondary education.
More than half the schools in the states of Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia have more than two-quarter of their pupils enrolled in some form of secondary education.
There are now about 4.6 million students aged five and over enrolled in Australian secondary education in 2021, up slightly from 4.2 million in 2011.
More students than ever attend primary schools in Australia.
Primary school attendance has increased from 12 per cent to 14 per cent between 2001 and 2021.
Secondary school attendance increased from 5 per cent for every 100,000 people to 5 per 100,0000 for every 10,000,000 in 2021; and tertiary school attendance also increased from 4 per cent per 100 in 2001 to 4.5 percent per 100.
Primary schools have increased their proportion of enrolments by an average of about three per cent every year since 2001.
In some states, the proportion of primary school students has risen faster than the proportion in the whole population.
For example, in Queensland, primary school enrolment rose from 4 in 2001, rising to 5.1 per cent by 2021.
The proportions of students enrolled as primary school aged students in both primary and secondary schools in 2020 ranged from 8.6 per cent at the state level to 11.5 in the Commonwealth.
The average age at first enrolment in primary schools has increased slightly since 2001 (from 13.9 years in 2001), but has remained relatively stable for secondary schools.
Primary education enrolment has also risen faster in many states than in others.
There were more than 11,000 more students in the ACT in 2021 than in 2001; 5,200 more students than in NSW in 2021 (from 5,700 to 6,000); and over 1,000 higher enrolments than in WA in 2021 for primary schools.
Students are now enrolled at a higher rate in state primary schools than in all secondary schools: in 2021 the proportion at primary schools was slightly higher than the rate in all state secondary schools; and the proportion was slightly lower in the NT (from 10.3 per cent) than in the Western Australian (11.1) and New South Wales (13.4) regions.
Secondary schools enrolment is also increasing in many state secondary education areas.
More children are enrolled at primary and in some state primary and state secondary secondary schools than at any other stage of education.
The share of students who have completed secondary education has increased significantly over the last decade, reaching more than 50 per cent from around 12 per one hundred thousand students in 2000.
In 2001, only 13 per cent had completed secondary schooling.
The highest proportion of secondary school students was in the Northern Territory (42 per cent), followed by Queensland (38 per cent).
There are more students enrolled at some level of education than in any other time in Australian history.
More Australians have completed their primary and high school education than ever.
Between 2001 and 2020, the number at primary school was about twice as large as it was at any time in Australia’s history.
The number at high school was also about four times higher than at either of the two previous time periods.
In 2020, more than one in every five children in Australia had completed primary or secondary school.
More people were enrolled in post secondary education at primary than at secondary level.
There was a decrease in the proportion who had completed post secondary schooling at primary level, from 30 per one thousand students to 18 per one ten thousand students between 2001-11 and 2021-22.
More of those who have enrolled in higher education than at primary or high school also attended post secondary schools, and those who did so were more likely to have been in primary or intermediate