There is a lot of data that surrounds the academic level of schools around Sydney and the state. It is essential to make sense of these mountains of information if you are to make the best choice for your child.
The natural place to start is by looking at results: put simply, who performs best?
HSC Rankings for 2011-2014
Each year the results of the HSC (http://bettereducation.com.au/results/hsc.aspx) are made publicly available, and are usually ranked based on the proportion of students who achieve a Band 6 in each subject.
Over the past four years (2011-2014), the Top 30 performing schools in the HSC have been:
1.James Ruse Agricultural High School (S)
2.North Sydney Boys High School (S)
3.North Sydney Girls High School (S)
4.Sydney Girls High School (S)
5.Baulkham Hills High School (S)
6.Sydney Boys High School (S)
7.Hornsby Girls High School (S)
8.Northern Beaches Secondary College, Manly Selective Campus (S)
9.Conservatorium High School (S)
11.Sydney Grammar School (P)
12.Reddam House (P)
13.Fort Street High School (S)
16.Loreto Normanhurt (P)
17.Moriah College (P)
18.Emanuel School (P)
19.St George Girls High School (S)
20.SCEGGS Darlinghurst (P)
21.Masada College (P)
22.Normanhurst Boys High School (S)
23.Loreto Kirribilli (P)
24.Hurlstone Agricultural High School (S)
25.Queenwood School for Girls (P)
26.Pymble Ladies’ College (P)
27.SHORE – Sydney Church of England Grammar School (P)
28.St Aloysius College (P)
29.Presbyterian Ladies’ College (P)
30.Roseville College (P)
Note: (S) marks a selective school, and (P) marks private.
There are many other schools that don’t achieve in the Top 30 in the state, but are often chosen by parents for their extra-curricular activities or school environment. Here are some noteworthy schools and their rankings for the HSC for the past four years (2011-2014):
Meriden School (32)
Knox Grammar (42)
MLC School (48)
International Grammar School (56)
The King’s School (57)
Santa Sabina College (62)
Newington College (73)
St Patrick’s College, Strathfield (79)
Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College (83)
Trinity Grammar School (89)
Top 10 Overall
1.James Ruse Agricultural High School
2.North Sydney Boys High School
3.North Sydney Girls High School
4.Sydney Girls High School
5.Baulkham Hills High School
6.Sydney Boys High School
7.Hornsby Girls High School
8.Northern Beaches Secondary College, Manly Selective Campus
9.Conservatorium High School
10.Fort Street High School
Top 10 Co-educational Selective High Schools
1.James Ruse Agricultural High School
2.Baulkham Gills High School
3.Northern Beaches Secondary College, Manly Selective Campus
4.The Conservatorium High School
5.Fort Street High School
6.Girraween High School
7.Hurlstone Agricultural High School
8.Penrith High School
9.Caringbah High School
10.Gosford High School
Top Selective Girls’ Schools
1.North Sydney Girls High School
2.Sydney Girls High School
3.Hornsby Girls High School
4.St George Girls High School
Top Selective Boys’ Schools
1.North Sydney Boys High School
2.Sydney Boys High School
3.Normanhurst Boys High School
4.Sydney Technical High School
Top 10 Overall
2.Sydney Grammar School
9.Queenswood School for Girls
10.Pymble Ladies’ College
Top Co-educational Private Schools
1.Reddam House (Bondi Campus)
5.St Luke’s Grammar
Top Private Girls’ Schools
4.Queenswood School for Girls
5.Pymble Ladies’ College
6.Presbyterian Ladies’ College
Top Private Boys’ Schools
1.Sydney Grammar School
2.SHORE – Sydney Church of England Grammar School
4.Knox Grammar School
6.The Scots College
7.The King’s School
9.St Patrick’s College
10.Trinity Grammar School
General Trends and Patterns
There is a fairly even distribution between each type of school in the Top 30, with 16 private and 14 selective schools represented.
While the highest ranked selective schools make up 9 of the Top 10 schools overall for the HSC, the best private schools make up the majority of remainder. This means that the best selective schools achieve at the highest level, while private schools achieve more consistent results.
Girls’ schools are particularly strong for both selective and private schools, and are ranked much higher than their male counterparts in both sectors.
The top co-educational selective schools are scattered across Sydney, although two of the highest schools (James Ruse and Baulkham Hills) are located in the North West.
The best single-sex selective schools – which achieve at a very high level – are North Sydney Girls and Boys, Hornsby Girls, and Sydney Girls and Boys.
The best private girls’ schools are mostly in the Eastern suburbs and the north of Sydney.
The best private boys’ schools are located in the Eastern suburbs, Northern suburbs and inner west.
In recent years, many parents have sought to reap the benefits of a private education, as it provides a high level of academic engagement and extracurricular activities. However, since this is not an affordable option for all families, another highly effective method has emerged – making the most of outside tutoring to gain a place in the selective system.
Wherever you choose to send your child, it’s important to give them the critical edge over their peers within the school and the state.