Top 20 Best High Schools in Melbourne

Best High Schools in Melbourne
Table of Contents

Melbourne is one of the best Australian cities for students, and that isn’t lip service. It’s internationally recognised as the fourth-best student city in the latest QS Best Student Cities ranking and the 3rd most liveable city in the world via The Economist’s Global Liveability Index in 2023. It also has some of the best schools in Australia.

But what does a student-friendly city look like anyway? According to Quacquarelli Symonds, the rankings are according to several factors, including affordability and desirability. It also accounts for cultural diversity, academic excellence, quality of life and employment opportunities. All high praises. But what do the locals think?

For Australians, Melbourne is typically lauded for its inclusive and forward-looking approach. It has a big city feel with an economical and educational structure that always seems well intact to support it. Melburnians will also tell you how much they love their neighbourhoods, and it’s not just the CBD. 

Of course, choosing a place to study is never just about name recognition and superlatives. Parents love the practical aspects, too. The intangibles, the community feel, transportation and the likes. How are the public schools? Can they keep up?

On that note, the best public schools in Melbourne, in fact, do keep up. Some even outperform private schools in terms of academic scores. It’s a good start if you’re considering Melbourne for studies and are looking for inexpensive, quality options. Now the next part is all about narrowing down the list of best high schools in Melbourne. And that’s where we come in!


Best Public Schools in Melbourne

Here are the top picks for most desirable and top performing government-funded schools in Melbourne.

Melbourne High School

With origins tracing back to the National Model School on Spring Street, Melbourne High School boasts a storied history. Despite numerous transformations, its enduring motto “Honour the Work” remains central, reflecting its values and contemporary curriculum. Aligned with the Victorian Curriculum, the school offers a diverse range of subjects, electives, and co-curricular activities, fostering personalised academic growth for every student. And of course, it’s one of the academically best performing public schools in Victoria.


Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School

Established in 1934, The Mac. Robertson Girls’ High School or simply Mac.Rob in Boon Wurrung is a government selective entry high school. It offers a blend of core and elective studies, but uniquely, students commit to a full year of study in each chosen domain. In Years 11 and 12, students opt for either the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) pathways.


Nossal High School

Nossal High School, a co-educational selective institution, draws educational insights from renowned Harvard Psychologist Howard Gardner. Its senior curriculum aligns with the Victorian Certificate of Education, integrating core VCE domains alongside additional classes in French, technology and the arts. It’s also one of the top performing schools in Melbourne when it comes to NAPLAN scores.


Suzanne Cory High School

Suzanne Cory High School, a beautiful, co-educational government institution serving Years 9 to 12. It implements a comprehensive curriculum tailored to gifted learners, drawing from globally recognized best practices and teaching models. Starting in 2024, the school will introduce the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, esteemed by Australian and international universities as a premier tertiary preparatory course. This program offers an alternative pathway option for students, complementing the traditional VCE pathway.


Box Hill Senior Secondary College

Box Hill Senior Secondary College provides a distinguished academic pathway to VCE achievement and university admission. Renowned for its robust arts programs encompassing contemporary music and visual arts, the college offers exceptional opportunities for artistic expression. Moreover, Box Hill is recognized as a specialist school in specific sports disciplines like basketball and tennis. It maintains strong partnerships with professional and local sports clubs including the Melbourne Boomers Basketball Club, AFL Victoria, Oakleigh Chargers Football Club and the Collingwood Football Club.


Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School

The Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School (VCASS) stands as Melbourne’s premier institution for nurturing talented musicians, dancers, theatre and visual artists. Academic offerings at VCASS are meticulously crafted around the Australian Curriculum, the Victorian Curriculum, and the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). Additionally, VCASS boasts a highly regarded International Student Program, attracting students from diverse backgrounds worldwide.


University High School

University High School or UniHigh nurtures students with a keen awareness of global political, social, cultural, economic and environmental issues. In addition to core studies, students explore elective classes and receive guidance from the school community to shape their post-senior pathway. Moreover, the school provides an array of community-driven programs focused on students’ social, emotional and physical well-being.


Box Hill High School

Box Hill High School provides pathways for both VCE and VCE Vocational Major (VM) programs. Renowned for its extensive Victorian School of Languages program, the school offers VCE studies in Chinese, Dutch, German, Farsi (Persian), Modern Greek, Vietnamese and Italian. Rooted in its foundation in the 1930s, the school’s enduring motto, “Ad Altiora Certamus” or “we strive for higher things”, encapsulates its commitment to excellence.


Balwyn High School

Balwyn High School, a Melbourne-based secondary institution, emphasises a holistic educational approach fostering community responsibility, personal growth, and academic excellence. At Balwyn, the Year 10 program offers full electives complemented by co-curricular and wellbeing initiatives centred on mental health, resilience and preparing students for future pathways, including VCE.


Best Private Schools in Melbourne

Meanwhile, here’s a short list of the best private schools in Melbourne.


Presbyterian Ladies’ College

Presbyterian Ladies’ College has been a specialist in girls’ education since 1875.  The Christian school has a curriculum for Early Learning Centre (ELC) up to senior school and is one of only 215 schools in Australia to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) in Years 11 and 12 as an alternative to the VCE. The college is also known for its beyond the classroom programs in performing arts, music, sports, outdoor education and leadership. Additionally, young girls enjoy spacious and contemporary learning spaces, as well as niche zones which cater for individual reflection and pursuits.


Haileybury College

Haileybury College follows the Parallel Education Model where girls and boys share the same campus, learn in separate classes but enjoy co-curricular activities together. This system aims to combine  the most effective elements of single-sex and co-educational learning as well as develop the students’ social and emotional capacities in an inclusive and engaging environment. Haileybury is one of the most sought-after private schools in the Melbourne area, as is usually marked by its long enrollment waitlist. The college’s extra curricular programs include various club activities, sports and fitness and music and the arts.


Fintona Girls’ School

The Balwyn-based Fintona Girls’ School K-12 system leads to a comprehensive VCE program that caters to most students’ educational benchmarks. The all-girls college is also known for its Life Skills program, which broadens their students’ understanding of topics such as nutrition, cyber-safety, drugs and alcohol, social interactions and successfully transitioning from school to university. This goes hand in hand with an expansive co-curricular selection that includes music, performing arts, visual arts, public speaking, outdoor education and exchanges and tours. There are also various special interest clubs that help kids explore and find their pursuits early on in their K-12 journey.


Scotch College (Hawthorn)

Scotch College is an exclusive school for boys with strong ties to Presbyterian Church of  Victoria, as evidenced by the Christian teachings that underpin the school’s curriculum and principles. The college is recognised for its Years 11 and 12 programs that include a broad selection of VCE courses, which allow senior students to fully branch out and commit to their individual pursuits or passion. On the other hand, the junior school enjoys the advantage of having full access to campus facilities while maintaining a distinct developmental curriculum and support system.


Camberwell Girls Grammar School

Camberwell Girls Grammar School or simply CGGS is one of Melbourne’s top performing all-girl schools when it comes to ATAR. It also has a unique Upskill program that caters to Gen-Z students’ multi-discipline career pursuits. The program provides girls with the opportunity to earn stand-alone microcredentials which certify their achievements in specific skills or capabilities. CGGS focuses on the inquisitive nature of young children during early learning, while junior school builds on these habits by offering a diverse curriculum and broad co-curricular selection. Finally, senior school leans more towards giving students more responsibilities and freedom during their VCE years, as well as access to unique cross-disciplinary elective subjects that give depth to the students’ academic pursuits and personal interests.


Korowa Anglican Girls’ School

Korowa Anglican Girls’ School boasts a broad curriculum and a supportive, multicultural community. The key programs in Korow revolve around its academic pursuits as well as its signature programs in leadership, academic competitions and community service. Years 7 and 8 students notably enter the school’s unique Cripps Program designed specifically to focus on the unique development stage and needs of these young learners. Cripps also aims to build the girls’ sense of community and camaraderie with experimental learning styles and collaborative community learning sessions. The Anglican campus is located at Glen Iris, one of Melbourne’s recognised family-friendly suburbs.


Ballarat Clarendon College

Ballarat Clarendon College employs a teaching method that uses research and cognitive science to practical classroom applications. The school actively focuses on developing and enabling problem-solving skills and creative thinking at an early stage. In 2023, Ballarat Clarendon College was recognized as Victoria’s top VCE performer for the second year running, which is also the third time in five years. The college also boasts more than seventy co-curricular opportunities in areas of sports, performing arts and STEM. Additionally,  cultural experiences in Germany and Japan as well as a humanitarian-based program in rural Cambodia are available for Years 10 and 11 .


Huntingtower School

Huntingtower School is one of Melbourne’s most academically successful educational institutions, both in terms of VCE scores and ATAR. Outside of that, Huntingtower owns a well-integrated music program with opportunities to become part of choirs, orchestras, concert and jazz bands and instrumentals. The school has a rich experience in performing in many prestigious events including concerts and regional and international competitions. Additionally, Huntingtower puts emphasis on academic and co-curricular pursuits in the arts, sports and health. Although no doctrinal instruction in religion is given at Huntingtower, it was founded on the principles of Christian Science, which remains a big influence in its core values and communities.


Lauriston Girls’ School

The multicultural Lauriston Girls’ School is one of the few all-girls schools offering both the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBDP) in Years 11 and 12. On top of its comprehensive curriculum, the school supports an extensive list of co-curricular opportunities that scales as students progress in their K-13 journey. Year 9 is notable in Lauriston, which comes in the form of its immersive Howqua Program, where girls are introduced to an experiential and unique learning experience in the school’s campus at the tranquil Howqua Valley.


Camberwell Grammar School

Camberwell Grammar School is an exclusive boys school in Melbourne with a well-regarded sports and music academy on top of its historically good VCE results. Junior school uses a sequential curriculum to facilitate early learning, while middle school adds ICT, Mandarin, French, Latin and Indonesian to the outline Australian curriculum. The broader academic scope continues in Years 11 to 12, where students are encouraged to participate in sporting programs and other extracurricular activities.


Summary on Best High Schools in Melbourne

The best high schools in Melbourne offer diverse learning opportunities in every stage of the Australian Curriculum. But more importantly, these opportunities are not limited to private colleges.


Public schools are on par in terms of VCE and ATAR results, which affords families a precious space to prioritise other considerations like location and culture, for example.


For their part, some private colleges provide an interesting and unique approach to some of the stages in a child’s development. The special programs, particularly in growth years, are worth looking into, if parents or the kids themselves are interested in some of these experiential learning opportunities.


Interested to learn about best primary schools in Melbourne? Read here.


Overall, this gives Melbourne a great look. And we’re not even comparing one school to another. Instead, we’re impressed with the variety of learning programs as well as the level of academic excellence that the city has achieved as a whole, especially in recent years.


With a stable economy and ideal living conditions, as well as learning opportunities that are comparable to other great academic cities like Tokyo or London, it’s not hard to see why Melbourne is indeed Australia’s most student-friendly city.