Here are staffing numbers for a large – 1000+ pupils – West Australian high school.

A total of 70 staff not allocated to subject teaching:

  • Management – 6
  • Administration – 14
  • Library – 3
  • Student Motivation – 2
  • Education Assistants – 19
  • Professional Development – 1
  • Senior School – 3
  • Cleaning, Gardening and Maintenance – 12
  • Student Services 10

A total of 80 staff allocated to subject teaching:

  • Arts – 7
  • English -13
  • Humanities and Social Sciences – 14
  • Physical Education and Health – 15
  • Maths – 12
  • Science – 11
  • Design, Technology and Home Economics – 8

A school’s need for a principal, four subordinate managers and a business manager is unclear. What is it, other than shuffling paperwork, that these people do all day?

Then there’s student services, recently created and sometimes referred to as student support. What do these people do all day and are they value for money?


  1. JF, I began teaching at my school in 1996. There were over 2000 students there, we had a Principal, two Male Deputies, one female deputy, one Program Manager, one Student Services Manager and five Year Co-ordinators, and, a Registrar. It was was well run, highly performing school.
    Since becoming a “single-line-budget” Independent Public School, with much the same number of students we now have a Principal, an Associate Principal, two male and one female Deputies, one Program Manager, one Student Services Manager, six Year Co-ordinators, a Corporate Services Manager, and, a Registrar. The Deputies all have several office staff, some employed via FTE for Teachers to do their jobs for them.

    The school still performs well but is is less well run, with what was previously Deputy’s work being devolved down to Heads of Learning Areas, who, if they have the luxury of Teachers-in Charge, can devolve some of this to TICs, or just have to do it themselves.

    We are luck, our Student Services is both well run and effective.

    All IPS has demonstrated is Parkinson’s Law in operation.

    Cheers Mate, I’ve been loving your work for a long while


  2. Thanks, Pete. I question the value for money of schools’ expanded bureaucracies.

    In my experience much money isn’t well spent; the whiz-bang electronic signs popping up outside schools, for example.


  3. JF, interesting data from the ABS on this across all schools for 2015
    Takeaway 1: National in-school staff: 30% non-teaching staff.
    As a proportion of all *in-school* staff:
    · Teaching staff made up 70.3%
    · Specialist support staff 2.6%
    · Administrative and clerical staff 24.0%, and
    · Building operations, general maintenance and other staff 3.1%.

    Takeaway 2: Non teaching staff increasing by a far higher rate than teaching staff and both are increasing faster than the increase in national student count (1.5% in FTE terms) . Note also that the definition of “teaching staff” is a bit hard to come by for these stats, so I’d be reluctant to assume they actually have to be teaching or not, so number may be changeable. Also another 13,500 out of school staff (not bureaucracy, just inspector, admin etc). Looking at the categories of *in-school* staff (FTE) by their major function:
    · Teaching staff increased by 1.9%
    · Specialist support staff increased by 2.7%
    · Administrative and clerical staff increased 4.3%, and
    · Building operations, general maintenance and other staff by 2.0%.


  4. Thanks, James. In my experience, quite a few full-time teachers are in admin positions either full or part-time – student services and year coordinators as examples. I seriously doubt that additional teacher numbers have led to a decrease in class sizes, in WA public high schools anyway.


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