Best High Schools in Brisbane
Brisbane is one of the best-performing cities in the country when it comes to academics, and the city has a number of high schools to choose from. While the QCAA doesn’t publicly release high school ranking data, we’ve thought of an innovative approach to ranking the very best schools in the state. Our ranking below is based on the number of students who were awarded a Distinguished Academic Achiever award from the QCAA in the past 3 years.
Distinguished Academic Achiever awards are given to the most exceptional Year 12 graduates in the state, and we’ve tallied how many come from each school over the past 3 years. It should be noted that this method of ranking schools isn’t foolproof (for instance, it’s influenced by the size of the school’s Year 12 cohort, it considers only the very best students, and the sample size is quite low) but we think it’s a unique and valuable metric for ranking the best schools in the state. No other list has ranked schools using this criteria, so the ranks are somewhat unique.
Here is the complete list of Brisbane’s best high schools based on Distinguished Academic Achiever awards from the past 3 years. We’ve also added whether each school is a public or private school, and below the table, you’ll find a short description where you’ll find everything you need to know about the top schools in each category. QCAA Distinguished Academic Achiever data sourced from QCAA.
|1||Brisbane State High School (BSHS)||40 Students||Selective|
|2||Brisbane Grammar School||11 Students||Private|
|3||St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace||6 Students||Private|
|3||Anglican Church Grammar School||6 Students||Private|
|4||Rockhampton Grammar School||4 Students||Private|
|5||Queensland Academy (QASMT)||3 Students||Selective|
|5||Brisbane Boys’ College||3 Students||Private|
|5||Brisbane Girls Grammar School||3 Students||Private|
|5||Villanova College||3 Students||Private|
|5||Mansfield State High School||3 Students||Public|
|5||Kenmore State High School||3 Students||Public|
|5||Somerset College||3 Students||Private|
|6||St Joseph’s Nudgee College||2 Students||Private|
|6||Trinity Anglican School||2 Students||Private|
|6||All Hallows’ School||2 Students||Private|
|6||All Saints Anglican School||2 Students||Private|
|6||The Gap State High School||2 Students||Public|
|7||Warwick State High School||1 Student||Public|
|7||King’s Christian College||1 Student||Private|
|7||Hangzhou Dong Fang School||1 Student||Overseas|
|7||The Southport School||1 Student||Private|
|7||St Hilda’s School||1 Student||Private|
|7||Pine Rivers State High School||1 Student||Public|
|7||Sheldon College||1 Student||Private|
|7||Mt St Michael’s College||1 Student||Private|
|7||Townsville Grammar School||1 Student||Private|
|7||Springfield Central State School||1 Student||Public|
|7||Unity College||1 Student||Private|
|7||Somerville House||1 Student||Private|
|7||Moreton Bay College||1 Student||Private|
|7||St Peters Lutheran College||1 Student||Private|
|7||Citipointe Christian College||1 Student||Private|
|7||St Rita’s College||1 Student||Private|
|7||Padua College||1 Student||Private|
|7||The Gap State High School||1 Student||Public|
|7||Matthew Flinders Anglican College||1 Student||Private|
|7||Southport State High School||1 Student||Public|
|7||Toowoomba Grammar School||1 Student||Private|
|7||Clayfield College||1 Student||Private|
|7||Gilroy Santa Maria College||1 Student||Private|
|7||Cavendish Road State High School||1 Student||Public|
|7||John Paul College||1 Student||Private|
|7||Australian Christian College||1 Student||Private|
|7||Coolum State High School||1 Student||Public|
|7||Ipswich Grammar School||1 Student||Private|
Best Selective Schools in Brisbane
From above, 2 of the 6 best schools in Brisbane are selective schools. A selective high school is one that has certain entry requirements for admission that depend on the location of the prospective students and/or academic merit. For many schools across Australia, selective schools utilise standardised tests to select students of a high academic calibre, maturity and commitment to learning.
Brisbane State High School (BSHS) is a partially selective public school in Brisbane that is consistently ranked as the best public high school in Queensland. There are two main selective categories that the school considers for enrolment. Firstly, students may be admitted if their principal place of residence is within the local catchment area. Secondly, students may be admitted based on academic, sporting or cultural (instrumental music or visual art) merit. The school is located in South Brisbane and is the only public school with membership in the Greater Public Schools (GPS) extracurricular association.
Queensland Academy for Science Mathematics and Technology (QASMT) is currently ranked as the second-best selective school in Brisbane based on Distinguished Academic Achiever awards. The school is an academically selective public school that has a partnership with the University of Queensland to provide quality education to highly capable students in Years 7-12. Unlike the majority of high schools in Queensland, QASMT uses the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum instead of the ATAR curriculum which is recognised internationally for its hallmarks of breadth, balance and rigour. Because the IB is internationally recognised, this aids students in gaining admission to extremely prestigious international universities, with past students being admitted into Harvard, MIT and Oxbridge.
The Queensland Academy of Creative Industries (QACI) is another selective public high school in Brisbane that utilises the IB curriculum. Like QASMT, it is consistently ranked as one of the best schools in Brisbane, though the school has a focus on creative industries as opposed to STEM, as the name suggests. It has partnered with the Queensland University of Technology and students are encouraged to participate in a broad range of extracurricular activities related to the creative industries.
Best Private Schools in Brisbane
The best high schools in Brisbane are dominated by private schools. In fact, as mentioned above, the majority of the best high schools in Brisbane are private schools. A private school is one that is not government-funded so parents must pay for all annual school fees, as well as uniforms and extracurriculars.
Brisbane Grammar School (BGS) is often ranked as the most prestigious and highest-ranking private school in Brisbane with an impressive academic track record. The school offers places for boys from Years 5 to 12. In 2021, a remarkable 11 students from Grammar achieved the highest possible ATAR score of 99.95, 18.6% of the cohort achieved an ATAR of 99.00 or above (top 1%) and the median ATAR score was 95.30. Grammar also offers a broad range of extracurriculars across many domains, from chess and debating to rowing and even sailing and fencing and is a member of the Greater Public Schools (GPS) association.
St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace has also achieved a high number of Distinguished Academic Achiever awards over the last 3 years. In 2021, the median ATAR was 91.45. Terrace also consistently ranks high in the number of 99.95 ATARs awarded to students, with a strong track record since the introduction of the ATAR system in 2020. The school offers a wide range of extracurriculars much like Brisbane Grammar.
Anglican Church Grammar School is an independent high school located in East Brisbane and is currently ranked as the third-best private school in Brisbane based on Distinguished Academic Achiever awards from 2020 to 2022. In 2022, the median ATAR was 91.90 and four Churchie students were awarded a perfect ATAR of 99.95. The school has been consistently ranked among the top high schools in Brisbane.
Best Public Schools
Mansfield State High School is currently ranked as the best completely non-selective public high school in Brisbane. It is a public school located in Mansfield and has consistently ranked in the top 10 public schools in Brisbane. An impressive 3 students have been awarded a Distinguished Academic Achiever award between 2020 and 2022. Both male and female students attend the school, and it offers a comprehensive list of extracurriculars in addition to its strong academic focus.
Kenmore State High School is the second-best non-selective public high school in Brisbane. Located in the Kenmore, the school is highly regarded for both academic and extracurricular strengths and it has also consistently ranked among the top public schools in the city.
The Gap State High School is ranked as the third-best non-selective public school in Brisbane based on Distinguished Academic Achiever awards from 2020 to 2022. It is located in The Gap and boasts a consistent track record of exceptional education and extracurricular offerings. Both male and female students attend the school.
Conclusion: How to Choose the Best High School in Brisbane For You
We hope you now have a good understanding of the best high schools in Brisbane. All of the schools on this list are excellent and boast strong academic and extracurricular results; however, it is always important to consider your individual needs. While a school may be on this list, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the best school for you.
Also note that our ranking method here, where we look at the Distinguished Academic Achiever awards from QCAA, may not be reflective of the average student experience. This is because these students are exceptional and may have achieved these phenomenal results regardless of the school they attended. It also doesn’t account for differences in Year 12 cohort sizes.
Always consider the support resources available, the academic pressure that individual schools place on students, and your own individual needs. A student who wants to be the best musician in the world likely wouldn’t excel at the same school as an aspiring Physicist.
Regardless of the school you attend, we believe every child can reach their academic potential with the right support, guidance, and mindset. We’ve helped thousands of students from almost all of these schools and many others across Brisbane, and we’d love to help you out next. If you’re interested in what we can do for you, learn more about our 99.90 ATAR tutors.
Thanks for reading, and best of luck with your studies!