The Queensland Government has a strong policy commitment to assisting, and tracking, young people's transitions to successful education, training or employment.
Since 2005, the Queensland Government has conducted an annual survey of Year 12 completers from state, independent and Catholic schools across Queensland. The survey, called Next Step, was commissioned by the department as part of the Schools Reporting initiative and supported the Queensland Government's Education and Training Reforms for the Future (ETRF), which aimed to have every young person either learning or earning.
A similar survey conducted by the Victorian Government also includes the destinations of young people leaving school prior to Year 12.
The Early School Leavers survey was designed to closely align with the Next Step survey, and provide complementary results about the destinations of young people who did not complete Year 12. Many items exploring main destinations, work and study choices are shared between the two surveys.
The Early School Leavers survey collects information on the post-school destinations of people leaving Queensland schools prior to completing to Year 12 in order to inform and better understand:
The Early School Leavers survey is conducted by the Department of Education and Training (DET) through the Queensland Government Statistician's Office (QGSO), in accordance with the provisions of the Statistical Returns Act 1896 (Qld).
The survey targets students who exit schools in Queensland in Years 10, 11, or early in Year 12 and who do not continue secondary studies at a government or non-government school. The survey is conducted between July and August each year.
For the purpose of the survey, early school leavers are identified through administrative records maintained by the QCAA and supplemented by departmental enrolment records. This list of early school leavers is then provided to the QGSO.
To represent more closely the group of students that are of interest in a policy context, young people in the following categories are removed from the list before it is provided to the QGSO:
Responses are predominantly collected via computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). All students are also offered the opportunity to complete an online survey. Students for whom telephone details were not available were invited to participate in the survey online or by calling the QGSO. The average time to complete the survey by CATI is four and three quarter minutes.
Prior to the survey, all identified early school leavers with a usable address are sent a letter from the Minister for Education advising them of the survey.
At the close of the survey, all non-responding students for whom telephone numbers are available receive six attempts at contact.
The first question of the survey asks young people if they have returned to secondary school. Those who indicate that they had returned to secondary school take no further part in the survey.
Between 2007 and 2010, the Early School Leavers survey collected data from students who left a state school prior to completing Year 12. From 2011, the Early School Leavers survey was expanded to also include those students who left state, independent and Catholic schools. The inclusion of early school leavers from non-state schools has resulted in a break in the series of Early School Leavers surveys.
Percentages in Early School Leavers reports have been rounded to one decimal point and so discrepancies may occur between the sum of component items and their totals.
Data editing is performed throughout data entry and after the survey closes. Examples of data editing include checking the data for invalid entries (e.g. entries which were out of range), as well as checking the accuracy of data which was manually entered.
The survey methodology allows for responses to be provided by a proxy. Allowable proxies include parents, siblings and other household members able to respond on behalf of the respondent.
It is possible that some answers supplied by proxies may be different to what would have been stated by the young persons themselves. Therefore, it should be noted that although it is estimated that this error is small, its impact has not been quantified.
The survey asks why the young person left school and whether they are currently studying, working or neither, and the details of these destinations.
Responses are collected by computer-assisted telephone interview or a web-based questionnaire. View the full questionnaire 312K.
The results of the survey are disseminated in a statewide report analysing statewide trends and patterns.
Statewide main destination data are also available for download in two Excel files:
For further information about the background, purpose or reporting of Early School Leavers, please contact the Next Step team.
To complete the survey by telephone or for assistance with completing the survey online please contact the Queensland Government Statistician's Office on 1800 068 587 (toll free).
This page was last reviewed on 28 Sep 2017