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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.

RankSchool NameAwardsType
1Brisbane State High School (BSHS)40 StudentsSelective
2Brisbane Grammar School11 StudentsPrivate
3St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace6 StudentsPrivate
3Anglican Church Grammar School6 StudentsPrivate
4Rockhampton Grammar School4 StudentsPrivate
5Queensland Academy (QASMT)3 StudentsSelective
5Brisbane Boys’ College3 StudentsPrivate
5Brisbane Girls Grammar School3 StudentsPrivate
5Villanova College3 StudentsPrivate
5Mansfield State High School3 StudentsPublic
5Kenmore State High School3 StudentsPublic
5Somerset College3 StudentsPrivate
6St Joseph’s Nudgee College2 StudentsPrivate
6Trinity Anglican School2 StudentsPrivate
6All Hallows’ School2 StudentsPrivate
6All Saints Anglican School2 StudentsPrivate
6The Gap State High School2 StudentsPublic
7Warwick State High School1 StudentPublic
7King’s Christian College1 StudentPrivate
7Hangzhou Dong Fang School1 StudentOverseas
7The Southport School1 StudentPrivate
7St Hilda’s School1 StudentPrivate
7Pine Rivers State High School1 StudentPublic
7Sheldon College1 StudentPrivate
7Mt St Michael’s College1 StudentPrivate
7Townsville Grammar School1 StudentPrivate
7Springfield Central State School1 StudentPublic
7Unity College1 StudentPrivate
7Somerville House1 StudentPrivate
7Moreton Bay College1 StudentPrivate
7St Peters Lutheran College1 StudentPrivate
7Citipointe Christian College1 StudentPrivate
7St Rita’s College1 StudentPrivate
7Padua College1 StudentPrivate
7The Gap State High School1 StudentPublic
7Matthew Flinders Anglican College1 StudentPrivate
7Southport State High School1 StudentPublic
7Toowoomba Grammar School1 StudentPrivate
7Clayfield College1 StudentPrivate
7Gilroy Santa Maria College1 StudentPrivate
7Cavendish Road State High School1 StudentPublic
7John Paul College1 StudentPrivate
7Australian Christian College1 StudentPrivate
7Coolum State High School1 StudentPublic
7Ipswich Grammar School1 StudentPrivate
Table of the best high schools in Brisbane, based on QCAA Distinguished Academic Achiever awards from 2020 to 2022.

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 wouldnโ€™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!

A student stressing about their grades, common amongst students who stress about their ATAR scores.

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Zen TutesZen TutesSeptember 27, 2023

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