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Best schools in Sydney Australia

A snapshot overview of schools in the Sydney area that are considered (although not necessarily chosen) by English-speaking expat parents.

If there is no ribbon, pending or otherwise, it means we are aware of the school but have elected not to review it at this time. This could be for a number of reasons, but we continually update information and add or remove reviews as deemed appropriate.

Schools selected for full GSGI review are noted with next to their names. "Pending means that we are planning to review that school.

By full GSGI review, we mean the school write-ups that are completely selected, researched, visited and written by our own editors. Our final write-ups take the good with the bad, warts and all, but we look for a preponderance of good before we drill down for in-depth details descend on the school for an exhaustive visit.

Sydney schools are very good, considered to be very rigorous and are also difficult to get into, particularly for the expat arriving for a shortish stay. Most seem to prefer students who are there for the long haul, so this is one city where early planning and investigation are crucial.


Schools in Sydney reviewed by The Good Schools Guide International

Ascham School

Adapted Curriculum/New South Wales/HSC; ages 4-18; girls; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 1,100 pupils

Founded in 1886, making it one of the oldest girls’ schools in Australia, Ascham follows the ‘Dalton Plan’ in senior school, an educational philosophy created by Helen Parkhurst in 1916. In the prestigious eastern suburbs with large grounds and lovely harbour views, the academics are rigorous and girls head off to top tier universities. ​

Click here to read our full review of Ascham School

Cranbrook School

PYP/New South Wales/HSC; ages 3-18; lower school co-ed, middle and senior school boys; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 1,400 pupils

Established in 1918 in Bellevue Hill, overlooking Sydney Harbour. The junior school (K-Year 6) is on two campuses. Non-selective but as one of the best schools in the Eastern suburbs, the first challenge is securing a place. Drama, art, music and games are all compulsory with sport playing a large part in Cranbrook life. Commendable results with the majority moving on to universities in the city and only around 5-10 per cent going overseas.

Click here to read our full review of Cranbrook School

Kambala

New South Wales/HSC plus IB Diploma; ages 4-18; girls; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 950 pupils

Founded in 1887, for the last 100 years on a campus between Rose Bay and Vaucluse with astonishing views. Charming buildings with great modern additions. Praise for teachers with impressive results both in HSC and from the small number of IB Diploma candidates. Majority of students Australian, with a few girls from overseas. Non-selective, with places sought after, scholarships available.

Click here to read our full review of Kambala.  

King’s School (The)  (pending)

New South Wales/HSC; ages 4-18; boys; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 1,700 pupils.

The oldest and one of the largest Australian boarding schools, founded in 1831. Located in North Parramatta. The school, set in 300 acres is described on the website as ‘boy heaven’. Famous, traditional school with house system, a military based uniform and a cadet corps with its own Marching Band. Impressive HSC exam results (2017, latest published figures) with the majority gaining ATARs over 80.

Pymble Ladies College

New South Wales/HSC; ages 5-18; girls; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 2,280 pupils

Expanded from an original 60 to 2,250 girls on a beautiful site in the North Shore green commuter belt. Junior school operates as a separate unit with its own facilities and there is a senior school centre providing five separate schools on one campus. Consistently in the top performing schools in Sydney and top of the non-selective schools in New South Wales. Fantastic sporting opportunities and a serious music school.

Click here to read our full review of Pymble Ladies College

Queenwood School for Girls

New South Wales/HSC/IB Diploma; ages 5-18; girls; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,500 pupils

Founded in 1926, on two campuses in the desirable waterside suburb of Mosman. The senior school, complete with library and 600 seat theatre overlooks the harbourside beach of Balmoral whilst the junior school is in a nearby residential area. Non-selective, entry open all year round although places are not always available. Commendable results in HSC but excellent IB averages.

Click here to read our full review of Queenwood School for Girls

Reddam House

New South Wales/HSC; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit’; 800 pupils

Founded in 2000 by South African, Graeme Crawford, an educational empire builder. The early learning, primary and middle schools are located in the Woolahra site in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs with the university style campus of the senior school based in Bondi. The school has become more diverse and now teaches students from over 40 nationalities and recently, HSC results have surged up the rankings.

Click here to read our full review of Reddam House

St Catherine's School

New South Wales/HSC; ages 5-18; lower and senior school; girls; independent; day and boarding; private non-profit; 1,000 pupils

The oldest girls’ Anglican school in Australia, founded in 1856 in the village style community of Waverley catering mainly to local families from Randwick, Bronte and Bondi. The school still has a strong Christian ethos with weekly chapel services. Entry mainly into Kindergarten and years 5, 7 and 11. HSC results are more than respectable, placing them in the top 10 per cent of the state. Some international boarding students.

Click here to read our full review of St. Catherine's School

SCEGGS Darlinghurst  (pending)

New South Wales/HSC; ages 3-18; girls; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 900 pupils

Founded in 1895 and expanded from a sole pupil, taught by one teacher, in a terraced house to close on 1,000 girls housed on a smart, modern campus with a large faculty. Located in the eponymous eastern suburb of Sydney. Despite being non-selective, the school achieves impressive academic results and has turned out some outstanding alumnae.

The Scots College 

New South Wales/HSC; ages 4-18; boys; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 1,950 pupils

​Established in 1893 to educate the children of early Scottish settlers. The school soon moved to its current prestigious location in Bellevue Hill in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs where a road separates the juniors from the senior school and boarding houses. Non-selective with entry points at pre-school, infants and years 3 and 7. Academic schooling combined with a rigorous outdoor activity programme.

Click here to read our full review of The Scots College.


These schools have been brought to our attention, but until we have more reports from parents, we are unable to consider reviewing them.


Abbotsleigh

Anglican; classes T-12; Reggio Emillia/New South Wales/HSC; girls; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit

Barker College

Anglican; New South Wales/HSC; classes K-12 boys; classes 10-12 boys and girls; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit

Knox Grammar

Classes K-12; New South Wales/HSC; boys; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit

Loreto Kirribilli

Catholic; New South Wales/HSC; girls; day; independent; private non-profit

Masada College

Jewish; New South Wales/HSC; classes K-12; co-ed; independent; private non-profit

Meriden School

Anglican; New South Wales/HSC; classes K-12; girls; day; independent; private non-profit

MLC School

Uniting Church; New South Wales/HSC; classes K-12; girls; day; independent; private non-profit

Moriah College

Jewish; New South Wales/HSC; classes K-12; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit

Newington College

Uniting Church; New South Wales/HSC/IB Diploma; classes K-12; boys; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit

Presbyterian Ladies College

Presbyterian; classes K-13; girls; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit

Ravenswood

Uniting Church; New South Wales/HSC/IB Diploma; classes K-12; girls; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit

Redlands Sydney Church of England Co-ed Grammar School

Anglican; New South Wales/HSC; ages K-12; co-ed; day and Homestay; independent; private non-profit

Roseville College

Classes K-12; New South Wales/HSC; girls; day; independent; private non-profit

St Ignatius College, Riverview

Catholic; New South Wales/HSC; classes 5-12; boys; day and boarding from year 6; independent; private non-profit

Sydney Church of England Grammar School

Anglican; New South Wales/HSC; boys; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit

Sydney Grammar School

Non-denominational; New South Wales - HSC; classes K-12; boys; day; independent; private non-profit

Trinity

Anglican; New South Wales/HSC; classes K-12; boys; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit

Wenona School

Non-denominational; New South Wales/HSC; classes K-12; girls; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit

 


Government Selective

Places at these schools are only offered to permanent Australian residents. The selection process is rigorous - extremely high academic standards.
More information: www.schools.nsw.edu.au/schoolfind/types/selectiveschools.php


 

Baulkham Hills High School

Co-ed, fully selective since 1995. Currently 1,180 students enrolled.

Fort Street High

Co-ed, 919 students total. Established in 1849, Fort Street High is the oldest selective high school in New South Wales.

Hornsby Girls' High

Founded in 1930, 717 girls total.

James Ruse Agricultural High

Co-ed, agricultural since 1959, and selective. 850 students total.

Normanhurst Boys' High

Opened in 1958, fully selective since 1994. 716 boys total.

North Sydney Boys' High

Established 1912, 915 boys total.

North Sydney Girls' High

Established 1914, 926 girls total.

Sydney Boys' High School

Established in 1883, Sydney Boys' High was the first state secondary school; shares a site with the girls' school. 1,151 boys total.

Sydney Girls' High School

Established in 1883, Sydney Girls' High is the oldest state girls school in New South Wales. 920 girls total.

 
 

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