Moving to Sydney with your children to a new life in a new land is an incredibly exciting prospect, but also a scary one. How can you safeguard your children’s education in an unfamiliar country, and how do you know that your children will be able to settle into the new school?

Luckily a move to Sydney, whether temporary or permanent, causes very few problems in this aspect. The city has excellent standards in both public and private education, and Australia ranks among the highest in the world for education standards.

General information about Sydney schools

The school year in New South Wales (the state of which Sydney is the capital) runs from the end of January to mid-December. Christmas and the holiday season therefore falls within the summer holidays – gear up for a Christmas beach barbeque!

Most schools in Sydney have a uniform policy and a set of guidelines for protecting children from the sun when engaged in outdoor activities. For more information, take a look at New South Wales public schools site.

Public schools in Sydney

All Sydney public schools have a catchment area and reserve enough places for every child in that area, so that each child is guaranteed a place at their local school. It is still possible to enrol in a different public school by applying directly to the school in question.

Public preschools in Sydney either operate five half-day sessions (mornings or afternoons) or two, three or four full-day sessions per week.

You can enrol your child in Kindergarten for the coming school year if they will turn five before July 31st of that year. Contact the school directly.

Enrolling a child in years 1 to 6 (primary school) or 7 to 12 (high school) is done by contacting the school directly (unless you and your child are temporary residents in which case you need to contact DEC Internationalon +61 1300 300 229).

Sydney’s top-notch public secondary schools

Some of the top rated public secondary schools in Sydney last year were:

  • James Ruse Agricultural High School, Carlingford
  • North Sydney Girls High School, Crows Nest
  • Sydney Girls High School, Surrey Hills
  • North Sydney Boys High School, Crows Nest
  • Baulkham Hills High School, Baulkham Hills
  • Sydney Boys High School, Surrey Hills
  • Hornsby Girls High School, Hornsby
  • Northern Beaches Secondary College, Manly Campus
  • Fort Street High School, Petersham
  • Normanhurst Boys High School, Normanhurst

Private schools in Sydney

There are a large number of private schools in Sydney catering for preschool, primary and high school grades. The most prestigious of these schools typically charge tuition fees in excess of 20,000 AUD per year. For example, the girls school SCEGGS Darlinghurst charges 30,501 AUD per year, the boys school Sydney Grammar School charges fees of 28,827 AUD per year, and the mixed Barker College charges 25,980 AUD per year.

There are however also a large number of religious schools of Catholic or other denominations which charge much lower fees: typically 3,000 AUD to 7,000 AUD per year (depending on grade).

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Sydney’s top-rated private schools

Some of the highest rated private schools in Sydney last school year were:

  • Sydney Grammar School, Darlinghurst
  • St Aloysius’ College, Milsons Point
  • Ascham School Ltd, Edgecliff
  • Abbotsleigh, Wahroonga
  • SCEGGS Darlinghurst, Darlinghurst
  • MLC School, Burwood
  • Barker College, Hornsby
  • Pymble Ladies’ College, Pymble
  • Malek Fahd Islamic School, Greenacre
  • The King’s School, North Parramatta

International schools in Sydney

There are several international schools in Sydney which offer the International Baccalaureate program – an excellent option when your child is enrolling in a Sydney school only temporarily. Annual tuition fees vary depending on the level of education and residency.

  • The International Grammar School, Sydney, located in Ultimo, charges annual tuition fees of up to 20,290 AUD. Students are encouraged to study a second language from preschool and a third language is mandatory in Years 7 and 8.
  • Redlands, based in Neutral Bay, is one of the oldest independent schools in Sydney and charges annual tuition fees of up to 23,900 AUD.
  • Lycee Condorcet, the International French School of Sydney, is based in Maroubra and charges fees of up to 28,627 AUD. All classes aside from foreign language courses are taught in French, and 60% of the students are French or French-Australian.
  • The German International School Sydney (GISS), based in Terrey Hills, is in the top 10 list of private schools of Sydney and is much smaller than the others on the list. GISS charges annual fees of up to 20,470 AUD.

Now that you know more about the best schools in the city, take a look at our Sydney neighbourhood guide to find the area that best suits your family’s needs.