Here's exactly how much NSW's richest schools are making.

It's no secret that private schools rake in big sums of money each year, but just how much are we talking? 

According to the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), some of the richest private schools in NSW have raked in hundreds of millions.

However, on the other end of the spectrum, The Daily Telegraph reports that 168 primary, secondary and combined schools have seen their annual income decrease between 2018 and 2022. 

70 per cent of these schools are government-run.

So—how rich are the state's wealthiest schools, and how large is the wealth gap between them and the schools receiving the lowest funding? Here's everything you need to know.

How much are the richest private schools making in Australia?

Knox Grammar School, with its enrollment of over 3000 students paying $40,000 each, stands out as the wealthiest school by a significant margin. 

Over the period from 2018 to 2022, this elite private school generated nearly $600 million, a whopping sum generated from tuition fees, fundraising efforts, and state and federal government funding.

Ranked second on the list is Barker College, which accumulated $462.5 million over the five-year period. In third place is Sydney Grammar School, earning $456.1 million, followed by The Scots College with $447.1 million, and Pymble Ladies College with $409.5 million.

Given the significant revenue private schools generate, it's understandable why staff from 250 NSW private schools are seeking a pay increase from five to seven per cent. 


This request comes eight months after public school teachers secured a historic pay raise that increased salaries by $10,000.

The Independent Education Union is advocating for higher salaries for private school teachers to uphold the longstanding salary premium over public schools. 

"We are seeking that the Association of Independent Schools NSW match the government rates for all teachers and maintain the traditional premium of five to seven per cent," Union branch secretary Carol Matthews told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Some working conditions in this sector have traditionally not been regulated, such as face-to-face teaching hours, extras, playground duties and other requirements. And there is no portability of benefits between schools – so the premium recognises this."

Some private schools like Newington College and The King's School already pay around 14 per cent above the standard agreement, with senior teachers earning close to $140,000. 

Negotiations between the NSW government and the NSW Teachers Federation are set to commence in early September for a new three-year agreement.

Meanwhile other schools are losing out.


While some schools are increasing their income (Barker College boasts a 40 per cent income increase), other schools are marking income loss. 

The Daily Telegraph reports that 168 schools faced a negative income turn, 70 per cent of which were government-run.

Karuna Montessori School in Narraweena faced a significant decline, down by 78 per cent, marking the largest loss among schools. Its total income after five years was $1.8 million, just 0.3 per cent of what Knox made.

Meanwhile, at Karabar High, a public school in Queanbeyan, gross income dropped by 40 per cent, equating to a reduction of over $7,500 per student.


Schools in the metropolitan Sydney area have also felt the impact, with Erskineville Public School seeing an 11 per cent reduction in their total income.

The contrast is striking, particularly when considering the top 20 wealthiest schools in the state have amassed more than $6.7 billion during the same period.

The top 10 highest-earning schools in NSW.

1. Knox Grammar School 

Total five-year income: $559,668,410

2. Barker College

Total five-year income: $462,564,688

3. Sydney Grammar School

Total five-year income: $456,106,758

4. The Scots College

Total five-year income: $447,147,389

5. Pymble Ladies' College

Total five-year income: $409,545,637

6. The Kings' School

Total five-year income: $403,457,413

7. Trinity Grammar School

Total five-year income: $387,551,991

8. Newington College

Total five-year income: $358,137,304

9. Sydney Church of England Grammar School


Total five-year income: $339,243,584

10. Cranbrook School

Total five-year income: $338,658,844

The top 10 lowest-earning schools in NSW.

1. Breadalbane Public School

Total five-year income: $1,684,545

2. Sofala Public School

Total five-year income: $1,709,198

3. Chandler Public School

Total five-year income: $1,870,736

4. Karuna Montessori School

Total five-year income: $1,871,399

5. Tambar Springs Public School

Total five-year income: $1,960,113

6. Hampton Public School

Total five-year income: $1,995,993

7. Megalong Public School

Total five-year income: $2,035,303

8. Avoca Public School

Total five-year income: $2,057,355

9. Bongongo Public School

Total five-year income: $2,061,857

10. Glen Alice Public School

Total five-year income: $2,130,022

Feature Image: Knox Grammar Issuu.