What are Independent Schools in Australia?


Independent schools are non-profit institutions that cater to a variety of communities and students with unique values. Independent schools are a great option for parent’s looking to personalise their child’s education to values at home.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, enrolments to Independent schools increased by 3.6% in 2021.

Independent schools make up approximately 1,187 of the 9,679 schools in Australia.

Independent Schools Australia’s School Choice research report in 2021 revealed that many parents are seeking education further to academic results.

“They are looking for schools to play a part in their child’s personal development, prepare them for employment and provide skills that will be used throughout life.”

Independent Schools Australia School Choice: A Research Report 2021

What is the difference between private schools and independent schools in Australia?

A private school in Australia is a non-government school. Independent schools are diverse non-government schools for a variety of communities.

There is some overlap between private and independent schools. In Australia, independent schools make up a percentage of private schools.

Around 17% of students attend independent schools in Australia.

Different Types of Independent Schools in Australia

Denominational Christian Schools

Many independent schools offer a religious education.

Independent schools affiliating with Christian denominations include:

Seventh-Day Adventist

Seventh-Day Adventist schools are often owned and operated by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

Adventist Education is the largest protestant schooling system in the world.

Adventist Education is offered at a range of different schools throughout Australia.


In NSW, one in five students have a Catholic education.

The official role of Catholic Schools NSW, is to ‘support the Bishops of NSW in bringing to life the Church’s evangelising mission through Catholic Schools.’

Visit here, to find a school in New South Wales.

The Catholic Education Commission of Victoria educates approximately 207,000 students within Victoria.

Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Melbourne offer the best education possible, equipping our young people with the knowledge, skills and hope to flourish and enrich the world.

Our holistic approach to education enriches the intellectual, physical, spiritual, and emotional lives of students, which research has shown adds an average of six points to tertiary admission ranks and leads to higher average household income.

Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools

Visit here, to find a school in Victoria.


Anglican education refers to education services provided by the Anglican Church of Australia.

The main difference between Anglican and Catholic schools is that Anglican schools are established by the Church of England.

There are approximately 155 Anglican schools in Australia, educating around 155,000 students.

Uniting Church

The Uniting Church in Australia synod’s oversee schools committed to ‘upholding and articulating the ethos of the United Church’.

MLC School’s culture and expectations have long been informed by Christian spirituality and values fostered through its Methodist roots, now strongly reflected in its close alignment with the Uniting Church in Australia.

The School prides itself in its multicultural, multilingual as well as multi-faith environment.

MLC School, New South Wales

In the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, there are 12 schools.

  • Schools within the Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania

In NSW and ACT, there are 9 uniting Church schools providing education to approximately 10,000 students.

  • Schools within the Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of NSW and ACT

Greek Orthodox

Most Greek Orthodox educational institutions operate under the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese emphasising their Orthodox Christian religion and values.

Orthodox education aims to guide students into the mystery of Jesus Christ, through teaching the whole person; mind, body and soul. Through learning, one naturally draws nearer to Jesus Christ, the source of wisdom. Loving God results in loving and serving one’s fellow person and respecting God’s creation. Serving our fellow human person is an expression of the love of the Holy Trinity.

Fr Peter Mavrommatis, Principal, St Euphemia College

Visit here, for New South Wales schools.

Visit here, for Victoria schools.


There are a few schools of the Presbyterian Church of Australia which encourage students to develop a Christian worldview.

The Presbyterian Church in NSW operates two schools in Sydney and five schools in regional centres, each with its own unique style and designed to serve the needs of their communities. Our schools are committed to distinctively Christian beliefs, values and educational practices in a way that educates the whole child and prepares them for a successful future. This Christian foundation is our motivation to integrate faith, learning, work and service to honour God with excellence in all that we do.”

Presbyterian Church of Australia in the state of New South Wales

Non-denominational Christian Schools

Christian Schools were established by Protestant Churches and parents to provide students with education delivered from a Christian worldview.

“Our schools were established by parents to ensure their children would receive a quality education in a nurturing Christian environment. Our schools model beliefs and values that are consistent with the Christian faith, whilst adhering to the national curriculum. Our schools are low fee, independent and are accountable to their parent and school communities. Our families are from a wide range of backgrounds but recognise the great benefits of Christian education.”

Australian Association of Christian Schools

Islamic schools

Islamic schools commit to the education of Muslim children whilst fulfilling their spiritual and educational needs.

Islamic schools in Victoria:

  • Australian International Academy King Khaled Primary Campus (AIAKKPC)

  • Australian International Academy Melbourne Secondary Campus

  • East Preston Islamic College

  • Ilim College of Australia

  • Minaret College

  • Mt Hira School

  • Islamic College of Melbourne

  • Darul Ulum College of Victoria

  • Al-Taqwa College

Islamic schools in NSW:

  •  Arkana College

  • Australian International Academy (AIA)  Sydney Campus

  • Australian Islamic College of Sydney

  • Al-Amanah College

  • Al Hikma College

  • Al-Noori Muslim School

  • Al-Sadiq College

  • Al-Sadiq College

  • Al-Zahra College

  • Al Faisal College

  • Bellfield College

  • Green Valley Islamic College

  • Iqra Grammar College

  • Malek Fahd Islamic School

  • Qibla College

  • Rissalah College

  • Unity Grammar College

  • Western Grammar School

  • Salamah College

  • Sule College

Jewish schools

Jewish schools in Australia seek to uphold Jewish values alongside education.

To find a Jewish school in Australia, click here.

Grammar schools

In Australia, many grammar schools are independent. Grammar schools typically select students based on academic merit or interview.

“At International Grammar School (IGS), students are taught in many languages from the age of 3. IGS celebrates the values of diversity, vibrancy, authenticity, connectedness and personal achievement.”

International Grammar School

International Grammar School. school kids learning languages. independent schools in Australia.
Credit: International Grammar School

How are independent schools in Australia funded?

All schools in Australia, including independent schools, receive government funding.

According to the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment, sources of funding in the Independent sector are:

  • Australian government funding 39%;

  • State government funding 11%; and

  • School fees from parents and contributions from the community funding 50%.

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.


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