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Mum reveals eye-watering cost of 13 years of private school in Australia: ‘It’s really confronting’

Millie looked at five schools in her area and she realised she will be forking out tens of thousands of dollars.

A mum has worked out how much it costs to send your child to private school in Australia for both primary and secondary years and you better have some deep pockets. It's no secret private schools can attract eye-watering fees, but Millie wanted to see just how much she would have to put aside to get her daughter through 13 years of private schooling in north Queensland.

She looked at many schools in her area, from Catholic to grammar to independent Christian, and the prices varied wildly. When she took into account the differences in price for each year, she was "confronted" with what she saw.

The grammar school would set her back a cool $175,000 for 13 years of school, the two Catholic schools ranged between $58,000 to $60,000, while the two Christian ones varied between $113,000 to $153,000.

Millie next to a bunch of private school girls
Millie said it was confronting to see how much it will cost to send her daughter to private school. (Source: TikTok/Getty)

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What was tough to swallow was those prices were just for the school year.


"That's not including application fees, school camps, music immersion programs, if they want to get into those, sporting programs, if they want to get into those," Millie said.

"It's really confronting when you look at it like that."

That also doesn't take into account the money you would have to fork out for uniforms, school supplies, and all the other costs associated with sending your kid to school each day.

School supplies alone were expected to set Aussie families back a staggering $3.5 billion in 2024, according to analysis from Finder. A fresh set of school supplies - including textbooks, stationery and a uniform - would cost parents $684 on average for primary school children and $1,132 for secondary students.

While it's an incredible amount of money, the mum revealed she would still choose private over public.

Plenty of parents agreed it was worth sending their kids to private school, with one saying it's an "investment in their future".

"A child's education is the most important thing you can buy for them, why not invest in it?" said another person.

But not everyone was on board and others said they would prefer to spend that money elsewhere.

"When I did the maths I worked out I could take my kids to travel the world for 5 years straight and just send [them] to public school. I feel like travel is more beneficial," wrote a user.

"OMG so not worth it. All the kids are the same once they get to Uni and there is absolutely no difference in academic outcomes or life outcomes," said another.

A report released earlier this year revealed Geelong Grammar has the most expensive private school fees in the country.

An analysis of 703 private and Catholic schools from Edstart found the Victorian private school charges Year 12 students a little more than $50,000.

The most expensive school in New South Wales wasn't far behind, charging $49,825 for annual tuition.

Edstart said inflation was one of the factors fuelling these incredible prices for schools, as administrators are forced to factor in the "increasing the price of expenses such as construction and maintenance, utilities, insurance and school supplies".

Private schools in Sydney’s eastern suburbs charge a median fee of $42,000 for just a single year of tuition. The median in Melbourne's inner south-east is $37,500, while inner-city schools in Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide had fees that ranged between $15,500 and $18,000.

Don't count on sending your child to private school to give them better grades.

A 2022 report looked into academic outcomes for kids in the Australian schooling system to see if there was a difference between public and private.

"The results demonstrate that private schools are not associated with systematically higher average student achievement in primary or secondary school, nor with steeper trajectories of reading and numeracy from Year 3 to Year 9," the authors wrote.

However, private schools can offer more sports or extra-curricular activities, as well as more expensive facilities, than their public counterparts, which might be a deciding factor for parents when deciding what school to choose.

Education outcomes can also depend on the location you're looking at.

Glenn Fahey, director of the education program at the Centre for Independent Studies, told the ABC the postcode of your school can be important to consider.

"There are a lot more similarities between a local government school and a local non-government school, than there is between a government school in a less advantaged area and a government school in a highly advantaged area."

"So, the key difference when we look at educational advantage and disadvantage is once based on postcode – not on school sectors."

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