New Data Reveals NSW Public Schools Outperform Private Schools

  • All Ages

The public vs private school debate is a tale as old as time. It’s an ever-evolving conversation that sparks a lot of passion in defenders of both types of schooling.

But, an independent analysis has been conducted across five years of NAPLAN results, and the results might surprise you.

The Results are in! NSW Public Schools Outperform Private Schools

Yep, you read that right! The results come from an independent analysis of five years of NAPLAN results, which has revealed the schools which consistently performed the best in the Year 5 and Year 9 tests between 2017 and 2021.

To determine how each school performed between 2017 and 2021, their average scores for each year were combined, the yearly average was found, and then the figures were independently compiled from the Federal Government’s MySchool website for student performance in reading, writing, spelling, grammar and numeracy.

The Top 10 High Schools in Sydney for 2022

The Results

NSW Public Schools Outperform Private Schools
NAPLAN results have been analysed across five years.

While the top-performing school in the state for NAPLAN was indeed a prestigious private institution in the shape of Sydney Grammar School in Darlinghurst, a more common trend within the results is that there are numerous lower-fee schools and public schools that have consistently outperformed elite higher-fee private schools, which are charging primary school parents a rather eye-watering $30,000 per year.

So while Sydney Grammar School took out the best NAPLAN results in the state, multiple public schools seriously put the public vs private schools debate well and truly to the test. 

For example, Woollahra Public School (which has an opportunity class) beat nearby Ascham, Dural Public pipped Knox Grammar in Wahroonga to the post, Neutral Bay Public beat nearby Loreto Kirribilli, and Epping West Public School beat The King’s School in North Parramatta. 

The top-rated Western Sydney institution of Carlingford West Public School beat some of the city's most prestigious private schools, including Kambala in Rose Bay and Wenona on the north shore.

The Verdict

While the top 20 secondary schools were all selective public ones apart from Sydney Grammar, higher-fee private girls' schools were the following best performers. In fact, only one private boys' school beat them. 

Oakhill Drive Public School in Castle Hill came in the top 100 primary schools in the state, and their principal Betty Ploeg told The Daily Telegraph that she attributes their success to empowering the teachers to use learning strategies that had been proven to work, including explicitly teaching key skills when it came to reading and maths.

She says, "We have fabulous teachers here who embrace learning themselves, who collectively want all of our kids to move into high school as happy, well adjusted, literate and numerate." Hear hear! 

A Note About NAPLAN

A child writing the word NAPLAN

It's important for us to note that NAPLAN is, of course, not the be-all and end-all of academic success, nor does it determine the school's success as a whole.

Academic achievement is just one facet of what we hope for our young people to receive when they go to school—alongside uncovering their true selves, pursuing their passions, building resilience, and equipping themselves with the social skills to move through life happily and purposefully. 

Hero image credit: The New York Times

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