This has been updated for July 2017
We all want to give our children the best opportunities in life and this often starts with a good education. While the best education always starts at home, choosing a primary school that is going to give your child every opportunity to learn and thrive is undoubtedly important.
While the criteria for the ‘best primary school’ is very subjective most parents will generally consider a range of factors, including whether they would prefer a private or public education for their child, the schools available in their location, the academic record of the school and the anecdotal experiences reported by other parents.
This updated post aims to consolidate a range of information and feedback received from the previous post into a more easily digestible format to help other parents who are trying to determine what the ideal school for their child may be.
Private vs Public
The decision to send your child to a private or public school is largely a matter of personal preference. If you’re looking for a school with a specific set of values, ethos, focus or extracurricular options, private or independent schooling may be for you. However, you would need to be pretty passionate about the reasons you select the school to justify the hefty fees you’re going to be up for.
For example, to send your child to Brindabella Christian College it will cost a little over $4,600 per year for junior school (years 1-4), Burgmann Anglican School will set you back $7,900 per annum, Canberra Girls Grammar School fees start from a little over $13,800 for prep and continue to increase as your child progresses, or Canberra Grammar School starts from a little over $15,800 per year for primary school.
While you will still be up for some school fees if you take the public primary schooling route, they will be minimal in comparison to most private or independent schooling fees.
Priority Enrolment Areas
If you decide to pursue the public schooling option, where you live will play a significant role in the school options you can select from because of Priority Enrolment Areas (PEA’s).
Because public schools in ACT are non-selective, each school will give enrolment priority to students living in its PEA so it’s important to check your available options before falling in love with an out-of-PEA school where there is no guarantee your child will be accepted.
The academic record of the school may also be an important factor for you in selecting the best primary school for your child.
According to Better Education, a school directory and information website that compares the academic and other results across schools Australia-wide, the following Primary Schools in Canberra we’re the highest-ranking schools receiving an overall score of 90 or more in 2016.
Top Primary Schools in Canberra – 2016
|Garran Primary School||100||5||5||562||Garran|
|Canberra Girls’ Grammar School||100||5||5||1472||Deakin|
|Canberra Grammar School||99||4||5||1600||Red Hill|
|Emmaus Christian School||98||5||5||286||Dickson|
|Hawker Primary School||97||5||5||335||Hawker|
|Weetangera Primary School||97||5||5||385||Weetangera|
|Brindabella Christian College||97||5||4||791||Lyneham|
|Telopea Park School||97||5||4||1358||Barton|
Source: Better Education (https://bettereducation.com.au/school/Primary/act/canberra_top_primary_schools.aspx)
While price, location and performance are all likely to play a part in your decision-making process, so is anecdotal feedback from other parents who have had a particular experience with a school.
Here is a summary of some of the primary schools recommended by other parents in response to the 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 primaryCharnwood 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 & 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.