Brisbane’s best public and private schools

Ever wondered what the top school were in Brisbane? We go through a school ranking, the best public and private schools, and Brisbane's selective entry high schools.

2 months ago   •   7 min read

By KIS Academics
Photo by Erika Fletcher / Unsplash

Looking for a reputable high school in Brisbane? Having trouble deciding which school will best suit you? Look no further. This post includes details about Brisbane's top high schools based on academic performance and rankings.

Brisbane has an abundance of schools to pick from, including public, private, and selective high schools. Most of these schools are renowned for academic excellence. While the majority of parents and students opt for high-ranking schools in academics, there are other important considerations to make when choosing the 'ideal' high school, including facilities and resources, extracurricular activities, location, and costs.

Top 20 Schools in Brisbane (Based on academic results and Better Education rankings 2022)

Ranking School Name Public/Private/Selective school
1. Queensland Academy of Science, Mathematics and Technology Selective School (Public)
2. Brisbane Grammar School Private
3. Brisbane State High School Partially Selective (Public)
4. Brisbane Girls Grammar School Private
5. Somerville House Private
6. All Hallows’ School Private
7. Ormiston College Private
8. Anglican Church Grammar School Private
9. Cannon Hill Anglican College Private
10. St Peters Lutheran College, Indooroopilly Private
11. St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School Private
12. St Joseph’s College Private
13. Hillbrook Anglican School Private
14. St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School Private
15. Brisbane Boys College Private
16. Mansfield State High School Public
17. Indooroopilly State High School Public
18. Ipswich Grammar School Private
19. Marist College, Ashgrove Private
20. Kelvin Grove State College Public

It is quite evident from the rankings that most of the schools in this list of top 20 high schools are private/independent schools. Below, is some information on some of the best schools in Brisbane based on their academic results and other facilities and opportunities they provide to their students that make them shine!

Selective schools in Brisbane

Selective schools are schools where entry depends on the academic merit of students. To assist the academic talent development and overall well-being of high-potential and talented students, selective high schools are specifically created to offer the best learning environments for students. Through the use of specialised evidence-based teaching techniques and ability-matched groupings, these schools support student learning by enabling students to move through the curriculum more quickly and explore ideas in more depth and complexity.

Queensland Academy for Science, Math and Technology is a state-owned school in Brisbane. It has partnered with the University of Queensland to provide quality education for Years 7-12. It has repeatedly topped the list of the best high school in Brisbane based on academic results. It is a highly selective school which means the admission of students is done purely based on their academic merit. It follows the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, a globally recognised curriculum.

The Queensland Academy of Creative Industries- Another public high school in Brisbane that follows the IB curriculum for years 10 to 12 is the Queensland Academy of Creative Industries. QACI has partnered with the Queensland University of Technology. It opened its doors to students in 2007.

The Queensland Academy of Health Sciences- State-owned and catering to students in grades 10 through 12, the Queensland Academy of Health Sciences is located on Gold Coast. It has collaborated with Griffith University on the Gold Coast to give students the best learning experience possible.

Brisbane State High School- One of Brisbane's top public high schools, Brisbane State High School was established in 1921. This school gives precedence to students with exceptional academic and athletic accomplishments as it is partially selective. The selective students in the school attend separate English, Maths and Science classes designed for their cognitive levels and their abilities. This South Brisbane school has a reputation for academic achievement and small class sizes. Low student-teacher ratios are advantageous because they ensure that teachers can provide pupils with the individualised attention they need. Academic progress is encouraging, with reading and math competence levels among students above the state average. Brisbane State High School students earned 67 (9.14% of the total granted in Queensland) of the 733 OP 1 Overall Positions (the highest score a Queensland high school graduate may attain with an ATAR of 99 or better) in 2018.

If your aim is to get admission to a selective high school in Brisbane, KIS Academics is here to help you in your journey. Check out our KIS Academics Selective School Tutor Page. Our tutors will help you maximise your learning potential and help you get into your dream high school. Getting into a selective school will require you to sit for a scholarship exam- a standardized testing process that helps schools select only the top-performing students. KIS provides scholarship exam tutors to help you get familiarized with exam content and the style of questions asked. A tutor would be able to show you strategies to tackle challenging questions as well as provide some tips on time management. For further information on the scholarship, and exam tutoring, refer to this link.

Public Schools in Brisbane

Mansfield State high school

This Brisbane high school is coeducational and non-selective, with a student-to-teacher ratio of roughly 1:15. In recent years, the school has earned recognition in the south-side area for both its academic success and its niche programmes, which include the French immersion, Music, and Information Technology (IT) programmes. 10 students had ATARs that were higher than 99.5 in 2021. ATARs of more than 90.0 were received by 45% of pupils.

Indooroopilly State High school

Indooroopilly State High School is a co-educational Independent Public School with an excellent tradition and reputation for student success. It is a diverse school with students and staff belonging to diverse cultures, so if having multicultural exposure in high school is something that you want in your high-school experience, this high school is worth considering. The school is recognised for its Flagship Courses in both curriculum and specialist programs. These programs are designed to accelerate students through both intensive and quality learning. Students from this school do well in academics and end up getting admission to some top universities in Queensland.

Kelvin Grove State College

Kelvin Grove State College is a prep-year 12 college leading the way in innovation and experience-driven learning. This school has well-established links with the Queensland University of Technology, Griffith University, and the Australian Computer Society. Moreover, the school provides many pathways and opportunities for students to expose to real-world experiences. Kelvin Grove State College is nationally known for its performing arts and strong music program. Its arts faculty is one of the largest in Queensland. Children from this school have done well in Year 12 exams.

Best Private schools in Brisbane

Brisbane Grammar school

This is a private, boys' high school for years 5-12, with boarding facilities and 2 campuses- one for middle school and the other for senior school. It is the oldest secondary boys school in Brisbane. The school is renowned for its cultural programme as well as other extra-curricular activities including sporting activities. It has a median ATAR of 95.3 with eleven students achieving an ATAR of 99.95 out of the 32 students who received this ATAR across Queensland. Furthermore, the school believes in the holistic development of students and provides numerous opportunities for students to pursue their interests with over 45 clubs to choose from.

Brisbane Girls Grammar school

It is a non-selective, private girls' high school for grades 7-12, renowned for good academic scores in VCE 12 for many years. The school was ranked as the top-performing Queensland school for ATAR results in 2020. In 2021, the median ATAR achieved by the students at this school was 96.25 with two students achieving an ATAR of 99.95 (the highest ATAR that can be achieved). It was named one of Australia’s 40 most innovative schools. According to the School in Australia rankings 2022, Brisbane Girls Grammar School is in the 13th position among the top 100 schools in the whole country.

Somerville House

This is a non-selective private girls' high school in South Brisbane. It provides education to girls from Prep to Year 12. The median ATAR of Somerville House for the year 2021 was 91.85. 10 students achieved an ATAR of 99 and above and all students achieved an ATAR of above 80. 5 students also achieved a perfect score of 100 in their external exams. This school has seen tremendous improvement in its rankings over the past few years. The school provides a range of scholarships for students from years 7 to 12.

All Hallows’ School

All Hallows’ School is a Catholic day school for girls from Years 5 to 12. It is the oldest secondary school in the state of Queensland. The median ATAR of children in the school is 92.6 with 63% of students achieving an ATAR of more than 90. All Hallows school provides numerous opportunities for students to excel not only in academics but in other interests, thus giving students a well-rounded high school experience.

Ormiston College

Ormiston College is an independent co-education school for students from Prep to grade 12. 100% of the students received an ATAR in 2021 with 49% of students receiving an ATAR of above 90. The median ATAR of the school for 2021 was 89.75. Ormiston College aims to nurture and encourage enthusiasm for and commitment to the pursuit of lifelong learning. The college has a greater focus on academics as compared to other sporting and extra-curricular activities.

While all these schools have been ranked per their academic excellence, it might be a difficult decision to make. It is a big decision as it could shape the next few years of your life and possibly affect your career choices too but do not stress. Take your time and do some thorough research before finding the right school. Always keep a few options in hand just in case you are not able to make it to your dream school. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you are engaged in your studies, maximising your learning potential and that you are HAPPY.

If you require any further help, KIS academics are here to support to achieve your learning goals. Our tutors are students who have passed out of high school with flying colours and would be happy to guide you through your crucial years at high school.


Written by KIS Academics Tutor- Aakrati Shetty. Aakrati tutors VCE Physics, VCE Chemistry, VCE Biology, Science (Years 5 to 10), English, Math (5-10), Human Biology (11 and 12) as well as General Maths (VCE). Aakrati is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Education at La Trobe University and has received stellar reviews from her past students. She has good experience tutoring students from various year levels. You can view Aakrati's profile here and request her as your tutor.

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