State School attendance bounces back from pandemic lows

Published Monday, 13 November, 2023 at 11:38 AM

Minister for Education, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing
The Honourable Grace Grace

  • Fresh data released today provides a snapshot of Queensland state schools 
  • Student attendance at state schools is on the rise across all year levels
  • An overwhelming majority of survey respondents say they had a ‘good school’
  • 570,259 students were enrolled in Queensland state school as at August

New survey results show school attendance rates bouncing back from pandemic lows, along with very high satisfaction levels with Queensland state schools.

The data released today includes the latest attendance figures, the August student enrolment census, state school class size and the school opinion survey results.

According to the data, overall attendance rates in Queensland state schools increased from 85.6 per cent in 2022 to 87.1 per cent in 2023, an increase of 1.5 per cent.

Attendance rates increased across all year levels, with an increase of 1.8 percentage points to 89.1 per cent in primary year levels.

There was a one percentage point increase, to 84.2 percent, in secondary year levels.

The 2023 School Opinion Survey also reveals an overwhelming majority of key groups believe they have a “good school”:

  • staff (91 per cent)
  • parents and carers (91 per cent)
  • students (80 per cent)

It has been a very disruptive three years since the COVID pandemic began with attendance rates falling across Australia.  2023 continues to be challenging with illness and medical appointments still the greatest reason for absences.

The Department of Education’s August 2023 enrolment census found 570,259 students were enrolled in state schools, a very small decrease of 0.2 per cent from August 2022.

Queensland is not unique in seeing declines in state school enrolments, with Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows similar declines in most states and territories.

A range of factors may have contributed to recent declines, including a decrease in the number of Prep-aged students as a result of decreased birth rates in 2017 and 2018.

The Department of Education’s 2023 class size data shows the vast majority of classes are within agreed targets.

Overall, 97 per cent of state school classes met the agreed size targets, including 94 per cent of state primary classes and 98 per cent of state secondary classes.

The majority of classes that were over target were over by just one or two students.

Class size targets are used by principals as a guide in the formation of classes rather than a maximum to be enforced.

The Department of Education conducts the survey every year to gauge sentiment across these groups on important aspects of state schools.

Perceptions of student behaviour management remains an area of continued focus, with the Department continuing to support schools to develop positive behaviour plans and support students with complex behaviours.

The survey results are also a valuable information source for schools helping to identify and guide school improvement strategies into the future.

Quotes attributable to Education Minister Grace Grace:

“It’s very pleasing to see attendance rates on the rise in Queensland state schools and we’re optimistic that we’ve turned the corner from the pandemic lows.

“I want to acknowledge the outstanding work of our principals, teachers and support staff in successfully navigating the challenges our schools faced at the height of the pandemic.

“I’m also very encouraged that an overwhelming majority believe they have a ‘good school’, whether it’s students, teachers or parents and caregivers.  

“As a government we are investing a record $17.8 billion in education this year to hire more teachers and teacher aides and to build new and better schools.

“There’s no doubt our record investment in education is contributing to some of the improvements we are seeing and our focus on excellence in education will continue.”  

The data is available at

Media contact: Martin Philip 0407 675 008