"Grammar is a thriving, motivating and purposeful place built on an ethos which draws significantly on the enduring values of the Western European Enlightenment."

Welcome to our school

It is very exciting to be leading Grammar at this time, and a genuine privilege to be entrusted with the education of some of the brightest and most impressive young men in the country. Grammar is a thriving, motivating and purposeful place built on an ethos which draws significantly on the enduring values of the Western European Enlightenment. Examination success, whilst an impressively notable feature of the School’s reputation, is really just part of the picture of a boy’s intellectual, physical and social development throughout his time at Grammar. Indeed, a love of learning and a passion for the greatness of the past, the dynamism of the present and the opportunities of the future remain essential in the daily life of the boys. Furthermore, an astonishing range and depth of opportunities exist beyond the classroom, be these in Music, Sport, Debating, Drama and so much more.

Dr RB Malpass
Headmaster

Honouring a rich history

Sydney Grammar School is one of the oldest schools in Australia.

Its ancestor, the Sydney Public Free Grammar School, opened in 1825 with LH Halloran as Headmaster. In 1830, Sydney College was founded. Sir Francis Forbes, Chief Justice, became President of the College and laid the foundation stone of the present building in College Street on the 26th of January 1830. In 1835 Sydney College opened in this building but by 1850 this institution was closed.

Sydney Grammar School was founded by Act of Parliament in 1854, after Sir Henry Parkes, the Father of Australian Federation, tabled a petition from a group of citizens concerned that the fledgling University of Sydney should have a ‘nursery’ to provide it with well prepared undergraduates.

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The re-founded School’s work commenced in 1857 in the College Street buildings which had been occupied immediately before this by the University of Sydney. Grammar has remained here ever since. The founding purpose of Grammar as set out in the Act – ‘to confer on all classes and denominations of Her Majesty’s subjects resident in the Colony of New South Wales, without any distinction whatsoever, the advantages of a regular and liberal course of education’ – remains the same.

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Since its foundation, the School and its Old Sydneians have played an important part in the history of this country and around the world.

The School remains a socially comprehensive and secular one, educating boys of any background and of any religion, or of no religion. Historically and into the present day, the School derives much of its strength from its central position in the city of Sydney with our boys attending Grammar from all over the greater Sydney area.

Our Present

The young men who emerge from Sydney Grammar School find themselves amongst a community genuinely dedicated to academic, sporting and artistic aspirations – a community which sees the significance of these aspirations in their lifelong importance for our boys rather than limiting them merely to the shorter-term requirements of public examinations.

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For whilst success in public examinations is still an important milestone for each of our boys, it is the ongoing intellectual, emotional and social depth which they have gained that will linger long after the final school bell has sounded. The Grammar boy carries with him a profound respect for the academic and intellectual life of the School, whilst challenging himself in his extensive involvement in its sporting life, alongside being a part of the School’s fundamental devotion to musical and artistic aspirations.

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We offer a very broad, high-calibre and rigorous academic curriculum. This academic curriculum is enlivened more powerfully by virtue of the high-quality music programme which continues to thrive on all three campuses and imbues all that we do with a deep respect for both aestheticism and hard graft. Additionally, the School’s sporting and broad co-curricular programmes ensure we support our boys in achieving a healthy, well-rounded and enjoyable education. Our constant aim is to help boys to have a true sense of self-worth and to celebrate their own individuality, whilst respecting the difference of others. The School aims always to foster an environment in which a boy’s own talents, and the talents of others, can flourish.

Our Future

Our future demands that we preserve and perpetuate the spirit of a Grammar education, while at the same time we invest meaningfully in the physical and technological development of the School and embrace the emerging and exciting opportunities that are ahead of us.

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Our future will involve a very significant level of investment in new buildings and facilities to support our boys and further improve our offering to the community. We aim to embrace the most valuable aspects of modern technology in education, to deepen our commitment to fee assistance for families who might not ordinarily be able to afford a place at the School, and to develop ever more meaningful connections with our broader community, all whilst continuing to employ the finest and most dedicated staff to provide support for our boys.

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Ultimately, our future is about Grammar boys. We aim to nurture each individual boy’s talents to his personal fulfilment so that there really is no typical Grammar boy. What our boys have in common is that they will emerge from Grammar as articulate, confident individuals who have a strong sense of their potential role in society, and who are ready for university and the wider world. Interestingly, the minutes from an early Trustees’ meeting asserted that the School’s object would be “that it furnishes a superior general, not a professional education; its object is not to prepare its scholars for any determinate occupation, but to communicate such information, and such intellectual training, as may best assist them in the subsequent acquisition of special knowledge, and in the efficient discharge of their social and public duties”. Given the inevitably changing nature of what will be considered professions in the years to come, it is very important for our young men to have a grounding in fundamental academic disciplines so that they are in a position to choose their path in the future. In this commitment, we remain true to our Trustees’ historical vision, and we renew their foresight with a practical and contemporary purpose.

Our Strategic approach

Learning


Continuing to maximise each boy’s learning and progress, by developing habits of independent thought, curiosity and pursuit of knowledge.

Character


Placing character development at the heart of the School as a learning community.

Community


Working in purposeful partnership with our wider communities.

Fee Assistance


Growing our commitment to fee assistance, so the School may challenge inequity by providing a transformative educational opportunity to any talented boy according to need.

Buildings and Development


Ensuring that we invest in high quality facilities and technology to support the needs and aspirations of Grammar boys now and for the decades ahead.

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Continuing to maximise each boy’s learning and progress, by developing habits of independent thought, curiosity and pursuit of knowledge.

Grammar’s academic heritage is one of achievement and academic excellence. This has been founded upon a commitment to inspire each boy to achieve to the best of their ability and beyond the bounds of any syllabus or examination. Our devotion to a post-enlightenment, pre-vocational education ensures that learning generates a lasting significance beyond simply developing boys who are suitable for future employment. The Grammar boy can be found variously at home amongst anything from computer machining Brutalist-themed furniture designs in Form IV Applied Arts, to appreciating the fate of the Blue Jackal from the Hitopadesha in Form III Sanskrit through to exploring Argand plane representation of complex numbers in Form VI Mathematics.

This academic approach is vitally enhanced by the subtle aestheticism of our extraordinary musical and artistic programmes, as well as the competitiveness and camaraderie afforded to our boys through their ongoing successes in AAGPS sport.

Grammar has long maintained a determination to recruit an expert and dedicated staff of masters with their own academic excellence which is nurtured and shared with their boys.

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Placing character development at the heart of the school as a learning community.

Character development is central to a boy’s time at the School. We aim for our boys to leave us prepared for a fulfilled life beyond school both as individuals and as citizens. Character is fundamental to their well-being and to their progress in learning. By the time they leave us, we intend that the boys have a sense of self-worth that enables them to stand up both for themselves and for a chosen purpose greater than themselves, to be ready to make a positive contribution to society.

Grammar is a school which not only respects but enthusiastically embraces diversity amongst our community. The orchestral cellist who also features as the Captain of Boats sits happily alongside the tap-dancer who is also a talented ceramicist. Grammar boys attend the School from all over Sydney and come from a wide range of backgrounds. It is ever the School’s aim that they emerge from Grammar with kindness, respect and a confident humility.

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Working in purposeful partnership with our wider communities.

Sydney Grammar School enjoys a richly diverse community made up of boys, their parents and our extensive and fascinating diaspora of Old Sydneians.

Our future must include and engage at a deep level with such a broad collective of those who identify with what constitutes a Grammar education and its life-long goals.

We must also continue to explore our connections with the broader community. Our partnerships with local girls’ schools, whilst already established, have been significantly enhanced in the last twelve months to ensure that our boys are genuinely understanding of the need to foster respectful relationships with all members of our society.

Each year, the School’s Prefects select a specific charity to support by their year-long efforts in fund-raising. Those efforts increasingly encourage us all to engage more deeply and give back more to our broader communities.

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Growing our commitment to fee assistance, so the School may challenge inequity by providing a transformative educational opportunity to any talented boy according to need.

The Headmaster and Trustees of Sydney Grammar School are committed to making it possible for any boy to attend our School regardless of his family’s financial circumstances.

Our fundamental principle is that any boy who would thrive in a Grammar education should be able to do so whatever his background, and that Grammar will make it possible for any such boy to experience our approach to education.

The School is actively committed to ensure that we embrace as broad a range of boys into our community. We are engaged in extensive advertising and promotion to offer our educational opportunity as widely as possible to future Grammar boys and their families.

Click here to see our fee assistance introductory video

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Ensuring that we invest in high-quality facilities and technology to support the needs and aspirations of Grammar boys now and for the decades ahead.

Grammar has thrived throughout its fascinating history by encouraging a diverse range of academic, sporting, musical and broader co-curricular pursuits that can bring out the effervescent and often wonderfully esoteric ambitions of our young men.

In the life of the Grammar boy of today, the academic, sporting and musical pillars of the School are of fundamental importance. It is not an idle point to note that the School’s outstanding academic record is the result of a devotion to the education of the whole boy across his academic, sporting, musical and other extensive interests.

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It is therefore perhaps unsurprising that we intend to invest significantly in these areas so fundamental to the ongoing education of Grammar boys. The School and the Trustees have developed a ten-year Capital Expenditure Plan to significantly enhance the educational vision of the School.

Most immediately, the School has planning in place for an extensive and ambitious new Sports Centre at Weigall. This facility is being designed to ensure that Grammar can educate and inspire boys for the next century of sporting development, providing first class aquatic facilities combined with state-of-the-art, nationally compliant court facilities for the AAGPS sports our boys love to pursue. The School’s intention is to ensure that every Grammar boy has the facilities available to him to support his well-rounded education.

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past…

Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.

T.S. Eliot
Four Quartets
from ‘Burnt Norton’