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Best High Schools in Sydney

Sydney 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 high school ranking data isn’t officially released, 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 HSC All-Round Achiever award from NESA in the past year.

HSC All-Round 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 year. 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 Sydney’s best high schools based on HSC All-Round Achiever awards from 2022. 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. HSC All-Round Achiever data sourced from NESA.

RankSchool NameAwardsType
1James Ruse Agricultural High School86 StudentsSelective
2Baulkham Hills High School62 StudentsSelective
3Sydney Grammar School59 StudentsPrivate
4North Sydney Boys High School53 StudentsSelective
5Abbotsleigh37 StudentsPrivate
6Normanhurst Boys High School36 StudentsSelective
6Sydney Boys High School36 StudentsSelective
7North Sydney Girls High School32 StudentsSelective
8Reddam House29 StudentsPrivate
9Knox Grammar School28 StudentsPrivate
9Pymble Ladies’ College28 StudentsPrivate
10Barker College25 StudentsPrivate
11Loreto Kirribilli22 StudentsPrivate
11Merewether High School22 StudentsSelective
11Meriden School22 StudentsPrivate
11The King’s School22 StudentsPrivate
12Hornsby Girls High School21 StudentsSelective
12Northern Beaches Secondary College21 StudentsSelective
13St Aloysius’ College20 StudentsPrivate
13Sydney Girls High School20 StudentsSelective
14SCEGGS Darlinghurst18 StudentsPrivate
15Cherrybrook Technology High School16 StudentsPublic
15Fort Street High School16 StudentsSelective
15Saint Ignatius’ College16 StudentsPrivate
15Sydney Church of England Grammar School16 StudentsPrivate
16Killara High School14 StudentsPublic
17Ascham School13 StudentsPrivate
17Presbyterian Ladies’ College13 StudentsPrivate
17Wenona School13 StudentsPrivate
18Girraween High School12 StudentsSelective
18St Catherine’s School12 StudentsPrivate
19Chatswood High School11 StudentsSelective
19Cranbrook School11 StudentsPrivate
19Penrith High School11 StudentsSelective
19The Scots College11 StudentsPrivate
20Gosford High School10 StudentsSelective
20Kambala10 StudentsPrivate
20Loreto Normanhurst10 StudentsPrivate
20St Luke’s Grammar School10 StudentsPrivate
Table of the best high schools in Sydney, based on HSC All-Round Achiever awards from 2022.

Best Selective Schools in Sydney

From above, 3 of the 5 best schools in Sydney are academically selective public 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.

James Ruse Agricultural High School is currently ranked as the top school in Sydney. The school is an academically selective public school located in Carlingford and has held the top position in the state for 32 consecutive years since 1991. James Ruse has also been ranked 1st nationally in NAPLAN results since its establishment and ranks as the best high school in Australia based on academic results.

Baulkham Hills High School is ranked as the second best high school in Sydney, and is another academically selective public school. Located in Baulkham Hills, the school was ranked as the most popular school in NSW for high school applicants in 2010.

North Sydney Boys High School is yet another academically selective public school located at Crows Nest on the Lower North Shore of Sydney. It has hovered around the 2nd to 4th best high school in New South Wales for the past 11 years, behind just James Ruse and Baulkham Hills.

Best Private Schools in Sydney

The best high schools in Sydney are dominated by academically selective public schools. The other major subset of schools in the top 39 based on HSC All-Round Achiever awards 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.

Sydney Grammar School is often ranked as the most prestigious and highest-ranking private school in Sydney with an impressive academic history. As a single-sex school, Sydney Grammar admits only boys across its three Sydney campuses. In 2019, it ranked as the 3rd most expensive school in Australia, with average annual fees of over $36,000.

Abbotsleigh is currently ranked as the second best private high school in Sydney and the best private school for girls. Located in Wahroonga, the school has over 1,400 students enrolled from Transition to Year 12. Abbotsleigh was ranked as the top independent school in the state from 2013 to 2015.

Reddam House is currently ranked as the third best private high school in Sydney based on HSC All-Round Achiever awards. The school is located in the Eastern Sydney suburbs of Woollahra and North Bondi. It is owned by the international private school company, Inspired Education Group which acquired the school in 2019.

Conclusion: How to Choose the Best High School in Sydney For You

We hope you now have a good understanding of the best high schools in Sydney. 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 HSC All-Round Achiever awards from NESA, 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. It’s also important to note the strong presence of academically selective schools in Sydney’s top 20 list. This means that strong performance on entry tests is a prerequisite for entry and many students will unfortunately fail to meet the competitive entry thresholds.

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 Melbourne, 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. with a 99.90 ATAR tutor.

Thanks for reading, and best of luck with your studies!

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Zen TutesZen TutesSeptember 27, 2023

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