Revealed: Qld private school fees for 2021

Most Queensland private schools have increased their fees despite parents having been hit by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an analysis of 106 private schools across Queensland, only about 25 kept their school fees steady after a year of financial stress.

The Courier-Mail found that the average increase of fees was 1.92 per cent, down from 3.06 per cent last year.



For the most expensive schools in Brisbane, parents are spending more than $28,000 annually, or about $250,000 for 12 years of schooling.

Fees at Brisbane Grammar School increased by 2.4 per cent, with tuition for students from year seven to 12 costing $28,230 annually.

One of the highest fee increases was at Brisbane's Brigidine College where fees rose by 10.27 per cent for students in grade 10, while St Paul's School in Bald Hills saw an increase of nine per cent, with fees for grade one students at $12,840.00.

But for some schools the pandemic has brought a reality check, with A. B. Paterson College, Clayfield College Primary, Grace Lutheran College and Ambrose Treacy College just some of the schools who did not increase prices.


Brisbane Grammar School is one of Queensland’s most expensive schools.
Brisbane Grammar School is one of Queensland’s most expensive schools.

For PMSA schools Clayfield College Secondary, Brisbane Boys' College, Somerville House and Sunshine Coast Grammar School, fee increases varied.

But PMSA Chief Executive Sharon Callister said all their schools have worked hard to contain fees increases this year.

"Each PMSA school manages their own finances and, under the PMSA guidance, determines their own fee increases depending on their expenses," she said.

"In 2021, Somerville House increased tuition fees 2.5 per cent but boarding fees remained the same as 2020."


Somerville House, Brisbane.
Somerville House, Brisbane.

She said across PMSA schools, wages contributed to about two thirds of the school's running cost and fees increased because wages continued to rise.

"Clayfield College has one of the lowest fee increases and Clayfield's primary school tuition fees have not increased at all for 2021."

Trudi Woodhead, mother of Clayfield College primary school captain Matilda Woodhead, said she found a lot of value in the fees she paid.

"It's a lot to do with the facilities that they've got access to, and not only the facilities that are on the grounds but the fact that they can access inter-school competitions that you really can't get the same if you're not paying the school fees," she said.

Ms Woodhead said she was fortunate to have kept her job throughout the pandemic, but she knew the freeze in fees would be beneficial to many families who weren't as fortunate.

"They are really looking after families," she said.

"Being fortunate enough to have kept our jobs, knowing that although fees haven't increased, for the families who have had an income drop, there's always the opportunity at Clayfield for the hardship fund."

Clayfield College Primary School leader for 2021, Matilda Woodhead. Picture: Richard Walker
Clayfield College Primary School leader for 2021, Matilda Woodhead. Picture: Richard Walker

Prices across Queensland's independent schools varied.

Ipswich Grammar School recorded a fee increase of 4.37 per cent for grade seven students at $11,752, while many others froze their prices for 2021.

Independent Schools Queensland Executive Director David Robertson said they were making "difficult decisions in difficult times".

"There is likely to be significant variation in 2021 fee approaches across the sector particularly given the disproportionate effect COVID-19 has had on different industries, regions and families," he said.

"Boards are in the unenviable position of having to ensure their independent schools remain sustainable in the face of ongoing economic uncertainty and rising education costs, including staff wages"

"Some independent schools have also experienced a drop in revenue as a result of the loss of international students and external hire of their facilities."

Originally published as Revealed: Qld private school fees for 2021