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4 Top Schools in Sydney

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4 Top Schools in Sydney

Moving to Sydney with your children to a new life in a new land is incredibly thrilling, but can also be a little scary. How can you safeguard your children’s education in a foreign nation, and how do you know that your children will be able to settle into a new school?

Luckily Sydney is home to several excellent educational institutions, and Australia’s educational standards are among the best in the world. Whether you’re looking for private or public education, a single-sex or co-educational classroom, or a local or out-of-town school, Sydney has lots of great options.

We have compiled a list of top-rated schools in Harbour City based on the all-important factor of academic performance, as well as factors such as the range of co-curricular activities on offer and the closeness to family neighborhoods. Read on to find out which schools made our list!

Best Schools in Sydney

The four best schools in Sydney are James Ruse Agricultural High School, Cheltenham Girls High School, Sydney Grammar School, and International Grammar School.

1 James Ruse Agricultural High School Carlingford Best selective public school
2 Cheltenham Girls High School Cheltenham Best non-selective public school
3 Sydney Grammar School Darlinghurst Best independent school
4 International Grammar School Ultimo Best international school


Understanding the different types of schools in Sydney

Public schools are government-operated free schools that offer admission to children within their region. Non-selective public schools enroll all children irrespective of academic performance, whereas selective public schools only offer admission to the brightest children, based on entrance exams.

Unlike public schools, independent and international schools operated independently and require you to pay a yearly tuition fee. Prospective students need to undertake an entrance exam and/or interview before they are offered admission.

James Ruse Agricultural High School

james ruse agricultural high school

Situated in Carlingford on a five-hectare farm, James Ruse Agricultural High School is a co-educational school that offers students an opportunity to study practical and theoretical agriculture as part of their secondary school education.

James Ruse is an academically selective public school that currently enrolls approximately 840 students in years seven to 12. Of the student population, around 95% are from a non-English-speaking background, mostly Chinese, Korean, and Indian.

James Ruse has a reputation for academic excellence, being named the best school in NSW for 27 years in a row. The majority of its students go on to university to pursue vocations like law, medicine, and engineering. The school also offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, such as sports, music, dance, and the Duke of Edinburgh Award program.

Cheltenham Girls High School

Cheltenham Girls High School

Known for its unique uniform, Cheltenham Girls High School is a public school for girls situated in the north of Sydney. It operates a non-selective enrolment policy and currently caters to around 1,250 students from years seven to 12.

To enroll your daughter at Cheltenham Girls, you’ll need to reside within its catchment area, although you won’t always be guaranteed a place. Only around 80% of applications are currently accepted, owing to its popularity.

Cheltenham Girls High School usually outperforms a number of selective public schools in the Higher School Certificate (HSC) – a credential awarded to year 12 students who have completed their high school studies. The school also encourages its students to participate in a wide range of extra-curricular activities, including debating and public speaking, performing arts, volunteering, and gardening.

Sydney Grammar School

Sydney Grammar School

Sydney Grammar School, known as just ‘Grammar’ or SGS by Sydneysiders, is an independent secular day school for boys from kindergarten to year 12. The current fees are just over $35,000 AUD (£19,000), although the school offers up to 25 scholarships every year for talented boys.

The school has 3 campuses across Sydney. The secondary school (year seven to 12) is located on College Street in the city, while its two preparatory schools are in Edgecliff (kindergarten to year six) and St Ives (preschool to year six). College Street has around 1,100 students, while Edgecliff and St Ives have between 300 and 400 students.

Sydney Grammar School ranked as the best independent school in NSW in 2019 and is known for educating the highest number of Australian Prime Ministers, Rhodes Scholars, and High Court of Australia judges in the country. The school offers a liberal as well as pre-vocational education that gears its students up for university. It has a diverse range of co-curricular activities including sports, chess, public speaking, and the Australian Air Force cadets.

International Grammar School

International Grammar School

International Grammar School (IGS) is an independent secular day school for boys and girls situated in the inner city suburb of Ultimo, near the Central Business District (CBD). It currently serves around 1,200 students from preschool to year 12 and places the learning of languages and respect for diversity at the center of its curriculum.

All pupils at the International Grammar School are required to learn a second language in addition to their regular coursework from kindergarten through year 10. Languages students can study include Chinese, Italian, and French, and the school offers an exchange program to its overseas sister schools in Italy, France, Germany, and Japan.

Tuition fees range from $9,000 to $25,000 AUD (£4,900 to £13,500) depending on your Child’s school year. If you send two or more of your children to International Grammar School, it offers discounts of up to 20% on tuition fees. The school also offers a limited number of scholarships to students entering into year seven, but competition is high.


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