Postcode Search – Methodology

Q: Is this research new?

This data was drawn from the Dropping off the Edge research that was produced by Jesuit Social Services and Catholic Social Services Australia in 2015. This extensive research identified areas of disadvantage in VIC, NSW, QLD, SA, WA and TAS, measuring 22 different factors such as housing stress, unemployment, income levels and seven educational indicators. Many areas have data available for each of the 22 indicators, whereas for some areas, data was only available for particular indicators.

This wide-ranging study uncovered the web of factors that must be solved for these communities, and our nation, to thrive.

In the original depiction, this data was portrayed to indicate levels of disadvantage, and a higher ranking meant a higher level of disadvantage. On the Teach For Australia website, this data has been repurposed to portray educational advantage and disadvantage, with a lower number ranking indicating a higher level of educational advantage.

Q: I teach in a disadvantaged area, but my postcode appears as advantaged. This is misleading.

The ranking is based on eight educational indicators, so while the overall ranking is an average of those, it absolutely doesn’t show the nuance or complexity of what educational (dis)advantage looks like in various areas.

In Victoria and New South Wales, the data was collected at the postcode level. In Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia, the data was collected at the Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) level. LGAs and SLAs often cover multiple postcodes. Each area therefore may also cover many schools across a large geographic area.

This research adds a layer of information in addition to ICSEA scores, which provide an indication of students’ socio-economic background within schools. The data used for the postcode search provides detail of the education outcomes of an entire population within a certain geographical area.

We do want to stress that educational disadvantage is highly complex (and so are postcodes!): single postcodes can and do often experience both high and low rankings on different indicators.