Public v private: Who rules in NAPLAN

QUEENSLAND state primary schools have held their own against Brisbane's biggest private schools in this year's NAPLAN tests.

But it was a different story for high schools, with private schools getting the jump and just two government schools landing in the top 20.

With the 2019 preliminary NAPLAN results released this week by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, a Courier-Mail analysis of the top-performing schools for primary students revealed it was an even split between state and private schools in the top 20.

One of the state's star performers was Rainworth State School, which has just shy of 600 students enrolled this year.

The school recorded excellent results for both its Year 3 and Year 5 students landing it at No.2 overall, just behind St Margaret's Anglican Girls School.

Principal Richenda Wagener said she was "constantly proud" of the school, and of its achievements.



"I'm very proud of our children and our community, and exceptionally proud of the wonderful work that our classroom teachers do every day," she said.

"The marrying together of the focus on the curriculum, the focus on high-quality teaching and also making sure we're looking at student wellbeing - that's what's really attributed to the school's success."

Ms Wagener said the school did some preparation on getting kids "test ready" for NAPLAN, and keeping a sharp focus on the Australian curriculum.

"If we know our students deeply, we can prepare in the best way," she said.

"For some that's a focus on academic rigour, for some it might be around emotional support, and some work around test readiness, but no real practicing.

"It's more about opportunities for them to demonstrate their learning."

Rainworth State School students Troy, Emma, Sianna, Harry, Samuel and Mia. The school was one of the state’s top performers in NAPLAN. Picture: Steve Pohlner/AAP
Rainworth State School students Troy, Emma, Sianna, Harry, Samuel and Mia. The school was one of the state’s top performers in NAPLAN. Picture: Steve Pohlner/AAP

She said NAPLAN helped the school assess what was working well and where there was opportunities for further improvement.

Despite the even split between primary government and private schools, there was a much larger gap when it came to senior school results.

The top-performing high schools were overwhelmingly dominated by private education providers, with Brisbane State High School (No.3 overall), Mansfield State High School (No.17) and Indooroopilly State High School (No. 28) the only government schools to crack the top 30.

Largely the top Year 7 and 9 results consisted of some of the state's best-known private schools - Brisbane Girls Grammar School, Brisbane Grammar School, St Aidan's Anglican Girls School, All Hallows' School, Somerset College and St Joseph's College Gregory Terrace among them.

Yesterday the State Opposition was quick to point out that of the state's top-performing schools, a large chunk were independent public schools.

Along with Rainworth State High School, eight of the top 10 state primary schools are IPS, as well as seven of the top 10 high schools.



IPS are state schools which are given more autonomy, including over staffing decisions and greater engagement with their school communities, with 250 IPS operating in Queensland.

The model was first established by the LNP in 2013, and questions have previously been raised over whether it would continue to be funded into the future.

The government has committed to provide finding for at least this term of government.

LNP education spokesman Jarrod Bleijie said this year's NAPLAN results highlighted the model's success, and said the LNP would fund it beyond the 2020 election.

"Once again Independent Public Schools have proven to be high performing NAPLAN schools, with better student results," he said.

"The LNP established this program in 2013 because we want local schools to be run by local parents, teachers and principals."

But Education Minister Grace Grace said NAPLAN was "not about comparing schools".

"While the majority of IPS schools are in South East Queensland and continue to be among the best performers in the state, what is more heartening is the continued progression of students at schools right across Queensland" she said.

"This is about individual student growth and individual school growth." Ms Grace said




1. Rainworth State School

2. Ashgrove State School

3. Indooroopilly State School

4. Sunnybank Hills State School

5. Eagle Junction State School

6. Wishart State School

7. Ironside State School

8. Chapel Hill State School

9. Robertson State School

10. Fig Tree Pocket State School




1. St Margaret's Anglican Girls School

2. St Aidan's Anglican Girls' School

3. Somerville House

4. Anglican Church Grammar School

5. A.B. Paterson College

6. Cannon Hill Anglican College

7. St Peters Lutheran College

8. Brisbane Boys' College

9. St Columba's Primary School (Wilston)

10. The Southport School




1. Brisbane State High School

2. Mansfield State High School

3. Indooroopilly State High School

4. The Gap State High School

5. Brisbane School of Distance Education

6. Cavendish Road State High School

7. Kelvin Grove State College

8. Mount Gravatt State High School

9. Kenmore State High School

10. Kedron State High School




1. Brisbane Girls Grammar School

2. Brisbane Grammar School

3. St Aidan's Anglican Girls' School

4. All Hallows' School

5. Somerset College

6. St Joseph's College, Gregory Terrace

7. St Margaret's Anglican Girls School

8. Ormiston College

9. St Peters Lutheran College

10. Anglican Church Grammar School