High school dropouts: 20% of students drop out before HSC

ALMOST a fifth of all Year 10 students in 2010 did not complete Year 12 by 2012, despite an increase in the number of students graduating, a Productivity Commission report has found.

The education report of the Commission's Report on Government Services found the Year 10 to Year 12 "retention rate" jumped from 77.2% in 2004 to 79.3% in 2012.

That rate measures the number of students in Year 10 in 2010 around the country that went on to complete Year 12 two years later, despite the final two years of secondary education not being compulsory.

However, despite the rise in the number of students completing their high schooling, the report found about 20% of all Year 10 students dropped out or went to TAFE instead.

It also showed a stark difference in the retention rate in public schools compared with private or non-government schools.

The rate for government schools in 2012 was 74.8%, while private schools averaged an 86.4% retention rate out to year 12 graduation.

While the data was not comparable across different states (with different age and year levels), it showed many students, particularly indigenous children, were not completing Year 12.

Nationally, the indigenous retention rate from Year 10 to Year 12 was just 53.3%, compared with 80.4% for non-indigenous students.

While it showed much work to be done to increase the number of indigenous students finishing high school, it also showed marked improvement.

The commission reported the indigenous retention rate rose from 46% in 2004 to 53.3% in 2012, showing some evidence of closing the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous students.

It also revealed indigenous students made up 6.4% of all students in government schools, compared with 2.1% in non-government schools.