Katie Francis

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Here in Australia, we’re lucky to have excellent public and private schooling systems. For those who choose to go private, the regular school fees can have you forking out tens of thousands of dollars each year.

But while many are used to paying a hefty fee for school tuition, you may be taken aback by what some parents are paying each year at Australia’s most prestigious private schools.

Check out our list below of the top private schools in the country, including the costs and facilities that they offer.

Prices are taken from each school’s website and are based on the Year 12 day school fee as of September 2021.

1. Geelong Grammar School

  • Geelong, Melbourne, VIC
  • $42,500 per annum
  • Co-education school

Geelong Grammar School (GGS) officially takes the cake for Australia’s most expensive private school, with annual tuition fees for Year 12 students reaching $42,500. The school is situated on the edge of Corio Bay, and is spread across four campuses and 245 hectares of land. With 180 teaching staff and 340 staff in total, GGS is home to 1,500 students and currently boards 800 students on campus.

Geelong Grammar School takes on students from Early Learning to Year 12, and offers scholarships to high-performing students through academia, music, sports, and general excellence. The Timbertop campus in the Victorian Alps is available only for Year 9 students, at which they’re taught important life skills and the importance of environmental sustainability. Year 7 – 10 students also also partake in the Positive Education Program, which helps students build character and cultivate positive relationships. If parents are wanting their child to board at GGS, they can expect a hefty $72,040 annual fee inclusive of the yearly tuition fee.

Well-known past students:

  • Rupert Murdoch AC KCSG (Billionaire businessman; media tycoon; investor);
  • Charles, Prince of Wales (Heir apparent to the British throne; eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II);
  • Portia de Rossi (Australian-American businesswoman and philanthropist).

2. Sydney Church of England Girls Grammar School

  • Darlinghurst, Sydney, NSW
  • $41,090 per annum
  • All-girls school

Sydney Church of England Girls Grammar School (SCEGGS) was established in 1895, making it one of the country’s oldest institutions. While it offers boarding for students, it predominantly is a day school, and is recognised worldwide for its academic excellence. SCEGGS offers education from Kindergarten to Year 12, and relies on a trust fund (funded by parents and the wider community) to maintain the school’s independence. Along with the annual $41,090 school fees, they require a $780 technology levy each year.

Well-known past students:

  • Dr Joan Freeman (Australian nuclear physicist);
  • Claudia Karvan (Australian actress, producer and script writer);
  • Roxy Jacenko (Australian businesswoman and socialite).

3. Ascham School

  • Edgecliff, Sydney, NSW
  • $39,900 per annum
  • All-girls school

Ascham School is another of Sydney’s elite private girl schools. As their website states, they provide girls with the skills to “meet the needs of the 21st century”. As a non-denominational institution, Ascham School offers day school and boarding, with a hefty $58,900 annual fee for boarding students. They also require a $6,000 acceptance fee to confirm a spot at the prestigious school.

Ascham School is the only Australian school in which ‘The Dalton Plan’ is implemented. The Dalton Plan is an educational concept which encourages students to focus on individual interests alongside their studies, while also providing extra support for students who are falling behind in certain areas. It has a strong emphasis on organisation and building lifelong skill sets to set students up for success.

Well-known past students:

  • Mia Freedman (co-founder of women’s digital media company Mamamia);
  • Poppy Montgomery (Australian-American actress);
  • Marta Dusseldorp (Australian stage, film and theatre actress).

4. Cranbrook School

  • Bellevue Hill, Sydney, NSW
  • $38,862 per annum
  • All-boys school

Cranbrook School is officially Australia’s most expensive all-boys school. With annual Year 12 fees reaching $38,862, you can expect to pay a whopping $73,536 per year to board on-campus. The school boasts a rich 100-year history and offers education from preschool through to Year 12. On top of the exorbitant tuition fees, Cranbrook also charges a $7,275 non-refundable enrolment fee to new students.

The school offers students a wide range of extracurricular activities and encourages participation in both educational and co-curricular endeavours.

Well-known past students:

  • Sir Charles David Griffin CBE (Australian lawyer and businessman; former Lord Mayor of Sydney);
  • James Packer (Australian billionaire businessman and investor);
  • Kerry Packer (Australian media tycoon).

5. Sydney Grammar School

  • Sydney, NSW
  • $38,709 per annum
  • All-boys school

Sydney Grammar School is one of the country’s oldest educational institutions, having been founded in 1830 from its ancestor Sydney Public Grammar School. The school is spread over three separate campuses: the Edgecliff campus for Kindergarten to Year 6, the St Ives campus which is also home to Preschool to Year 6, and the College St. campus, for high school students. The school charges a $6,341 entrance fee on application, and also offers a generous selection of scholarships for students to apply for.

Well-known past students:

  • Sir Edmund Barton (Australia’s first Prime Minister);
  • Banjo Paterson (Australian bush poet, journalist and author);
  • Malcolm Turnbull (29th Prime Minister of Australia).

6. Mount Scopus Memorial College

  • Burwood, Melbourne, VIC
  • $38,330 per annum
  • Co-education school

Mount Scopus Memorial College is a modern Orthodox Jewish College in the Melbourne suburb of Burwood. It is the first co-ed Jewish day school in the city, and offers education from Kindergarten to Year 12. With just under 1,300 students, the day school does not offer boarding.

Mount Scopus boasts a holistic development program for its students, and focuses on providing Jewish learning to give children the opportunity to connect with their Jewish identity. The school requires a $150 enrollment registration fee, as well as a $250 place offer acceptance fee.

Well-known past students:

  • Geoffrey Edelstein (Australian businessman; former physician; founder of Allied Medical Group);
  • Josh Frydenberg (Australian politician; federal treasurer and deputy leader of the Liberal Party);
  • Peter Alexander (Australian fashion designer).

7. The Kings School for Boys

  • Sydney, NSW
  • $38,284 per annum
  • All-boys school

The Kings School for Boys is one of Australia’s largest boarding institutions, thanks to the large number of rural students who study here. The school requires a $250 non-refundable application fee, as well as a $4,500 admission fee. If wanting to board, the school charges an additional boarding fee of $27,253 on top of the annual school fees. Parents can also expect to pay a $1,350 senior school lunch fee each year, as well as a $360 tech fee per term.

Well-known past students:

  • Michael Bruce Baird AO (Australian investment banker; former politician);
  • Theo Russel Cooper AM (former Australian National Party politician; former Premier of Queensland)
  • William Forster (former Premier of New South Wales).

8. Trinity Grammar School

  • Summer Hill, Sydney, NSW
  • $37,030 per annum
  • All-boys school

Trinity Grammar School is another of Sydney’s prestigious all-boys schools. With three campuses ranging from Stratfield, Summer Hill and Woollamia, the non-selective school offers a wide ranging curriculum. The Trinity Education Support Services (TESS) offer integrated support to special needs students, and the compulsory extracurricular programme offers a wide range of activities, including fishing club, archaeological society and chess club.

With over 2,500 students, Trinity Grammar School boasts an impressive ranking of 1st in the world for 9 IB students in 2018.

Well-known past students:

  • Timothy Dodds (Chief Executive of the Beston Parks Group);
  • James Morrison Millar (Chief Executive Officer of Ernst & Young Australia);
  • Peter Henry Carter (Former Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons).

9. Melbourne Girls Grammar

  • South Yarra, Melbourne, VIC
  • $36,784 per annum
  • All-girls school

Melbourne Girls Grammar is an independent Anglican girls school situated in inner city Melbourne. Annual fees for Year 12 girls sit just under $37,000, with boarding costs of an additional $28,684 each year. The school offers education for Early Learning to senior years, with a focus on eLearning, wellbeing, co-curricular activities, and leadership programs.

Well-known past students:

  • Yumi Styles (Australian television and radio presenter; podcaster; author);
  • Sally Walker (Vice Chancellor of Deakin University);
  • Stephanie McIntosh (Australian actress).

10. St. Catherine’s School

  • Toorak, Melbourne, VIC
  • $36,040 per annum
  • All-girls school

St. Catherine’s is an independent and non-denominational Christian school in Melbourne’s inner south-eastern suburbs. The school prides itself on delivering a roadmap for students to develop key character and behaviour skills to set them up for success. St. Catherine’s requires a $100 application fee, and a $2,500 holding deposit for new enrolments which is then credited to the Term 2 fees in the student’s first year of study.

If wanting to board, the annual fee for Year 7 – 12 students is $30,480, and the entrance fee for Year 11 and 12 students beginning their studies with St. Catherine’s is $2,500.

Well-known past students:

  • Alison Patrick (Historian and first female Head of History at Melbourne University);
  • Natalie Bloom (owner and founder of Bloom Cosmetics; Victorian Young Australian of the Year 1997);
  • Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC DBE (Philanthropist; mother of Rupert Murdoch).

Written by: Katie Francis

Katie Francis is a Content Writer at Jacaranda Finance. She has a Bachelor of Business (Marketing)/Media & Communications from the Queensland University of Technology.