This has been updated for March 2021
We all want children to have the best opportunities in life and a good education is essential. While the best education always starts at home, choosing a primary school that will enable your child to learn and thrive is important.
But what is the “best primary school”? Many parents start by deciding whether they want a private or public education for their child. Other factors include the school’s academic record, size and location. Anecdotal experiences reported by other parents can also help.
This updated post covers some of the information parents can consider when determining the ideal school for their child.
Private versus public
Deciding to send your child to a private or public school is largely personal preference. You might want a school with a specific set of values, ethos, focus or extracurricular options. If so, private or independent schooling may be best. However, you need to consider cost, with private schools charging higher annual fees ranging from more than $5,000 per year to more than $18,000 (fees vary year-on-year).
Priority Enrolment Areas
If you decide on public schooling, where you live plays a significant role in determining your options. This is because addresses are zoned for particular schools. They are mapped into Priority Enrolment Areas (PEAs). Each school gives enrolment priority to students living in its PEA. If you love a school and don’t live in that PEA there’s no guarantee your child will be accepted.
A school’s academic record is likely an important factor in selecting the best primary school for your child. You can check Better Education, a free school directory and information website that compares schools in each state and territory for a school’s academic record and other attributes.
Here are the highest-ranking schools in the ACT for 2019, with an overall score of 97 or more.
Top primary schools in Canberra – 2019
|Canberra Girls’ Grammar School||100||5||5||1251||Deakin|
|Aranda Primary School||100||5||5||541||Aranda|
|Canberra Grammar School||99||4||5||1953||Red Hill|
|Garran Primary School||98||5||5||603||Garran|
|Burgmann Anglican School||98||5||5||1442||Gungahlin|
|Telopea Park School||98||5||5||1426||Barton|
|Brindabella Christian College||97||5||5||973||Lyneham|
|Emmaus Christian School||97||5||4||308||Dickson|
|Sts Peter and Paul’s Primary School||97||5||5||236||Garran|
Source: Better Education (https://bettereducation.com.au/school/Primary/act/canberra_top_primary_schools.aspx)
Price, location and performance of a school are all important factors in your decision making. You can also consider anecdotal feedback from other parents.
Here is a summary of some primary schools recommended by other parents in response to a previous post:
- “Monash primary school is good if you want public in the Tuggeranong area.”
- “Chapman primary is great for Weston Creek.”
- “Aranda and Majura Primaries are two that have particularly good reputations.”
- “In Belconnen, Marybynong Primary in Kaleen seems to be the stand-out at the moment. Arawang seems to be doing well in the Weston area.”
- “… if you head to the far, far north Burgmann in Gungahlin is fine (private however).”
- “Maribynong was good for those who had a creative side back in the day.”
- “Miles Franklin Primary in Evatt is great … and this is coming from me who was highly critical of the Govt primary system with my other 3 kids who are still attending Catholic schools.”
- “Fraser Primary, Charnwood Primary (improving I hear), Latham Primary, Kaleen Primary”
- “Latham is a well-kept secret (well, it was). Definitely worth a try if you can’t get a house close to Maribyrnong.”
- “Arawang Primary … looks great. Smaller than some of the other primary schools, but still with a really nice parent community.”
- “Torrens Primary is a very traditional-style school culture.”
- “Mawson Primary has a bilingual Chinese language program, and has a Chinese language pre-school nearby too.”
- “Farrer Primary is a nice smaller school with a friendly culture …”
- “Hughes Primary is a great school, they have lots of English as a second language programs and a very friendly, multi-cultural community.”
- “Garran Primary is another great school, bigger than Hughes. They have a new environment program, and run programs for gifted and talented and kids with learning difficulties.”
- “Curtin Primary is another school similar in size to Garran, and has programs for gifted & talented and kids with learning difficulties.”
- “Lyons is an early childhood centre – pre-school to Year 2. Which means your child needs to move in Year 3 to a P-6 school.”
- “Yarralumla Primary School (inner South, next suburb North of Curtin) has a bi-lingual Italian program and is now one of the smallest schools in Canberra.”
- “Garran, Curtin, Forrest and Chapman Primary Schools all have good names. My daughter went to Garran for about three years and I was sorry to leave it.”
- “I believe Holder and Waramanga Primary are pretty good too in the Weston Creek area.”
- “Chapman is also in this area. I have a few friends with kids in these schools who are very happy.”
- “Steiner School is also in Weston if you want an alternative choice.”
- “For affordable rent and a good government primary school I think you will have to look at Weston Creek or Belconnen.”
- “Yarralumla and Garran primaries may well be excellent, but the rent would be enormous.”
- “I think Waramanga or Kaleen would be good choices, and not too far from the rest of Canberra either.”