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Multi-age or composite classes in NSW government schools (2014-2022)

Multi-age classes are made up of students drawn from different year levels. They may be established because of the uneven pattern of enrolment in the school, because of the small size of the school or where it’s considered that mixing students of different ages is academically and socially advantageous.


• Multi-age or composite class data for individual schools was not published for 2020.

The collection took place in March 2020 when school operations were severely impacted by COVID-19, so the department did not follow up potential errors in class size or class structure with numerous schools.

The 2022 class size factsheet with state level aggregate data has been published and is available here: https://data.cese.nsw.gov.au/data/dataset/average-government-primary-school-class-sizes-by-year

• Multi-age classes are often designed to match the organisation of the syllabus, which is based on ‘stages’ running over two years.

• From 2017, school size is based on primary enrolment rather than school classification.

• Historical data displays the data that was correct in that year. Research suggests that:

• Class organisation "...will not determine either educational advantage or disadvantage..." (NSW DET 1997).

• The most important factors in determining student success are the quality of the teacher and his or her teaching. (Hattie, 2003)

Multi-age classes may benefit students both socially and emotionally. NSW consistently performs above the national average in NAPLAN testing.

Data source: • Early Learning and Primary Education. NSW Department of Education.

Data and resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Title Multi-age or composite classes in NSW government schools (2014-2022)
Type Dataset
Language eng
Licence Creative Commons Attribution
Data Status active
Update Frequency annual
Landing Page https://data.cese.nsw.gov.au/data/dataset/8451d297-3fb0-4904-8722-f72736851b3b
Date Published 2017-02-21
Date Updated 2022-12-21
Contact Point
NSW Department of Education
Data Services <data.services@det.nsw.edu.au>
Temporal Coverage 2014-01-01 - 2018-12-31
Geospatial Coverage NSW81093: New South Wales
Jurisdiction New South Wales
Data Portal NSW Education Data Hub
Publisher/Agency NSW Department of Education
Data Level School-level