THE government selective James Ruse Agricultural High School is the state's top academic school for the 22nd year in a row followed by high flying Baulkham Hills High and North Sydney Boys High.
James Ruse has increased its strike rate of distinguished achievers by more than four percentage points to 77.4, modelling of this year's HSC results conducted by The Daily Telegraph shows.
Sydney Girls High School comes in at fourth, pushing North Sydney Girls High to back to eighth _ and Sydney Boys High School takes fifth spot.
Sydney Grammar retains its position in the top ten and as the highest performing private school despite a sex scandal in which one of its former teachers was accused of sleeping with a teenage schoolboy.
In total there are 888 schools (excluding the self-tuition students and outside tutors).
Rankings based on the highest achieving students in the HSC show the big movers include Ascham School at Edgecliff which has improved from 18th last year to ninth and the government selective Fort Street High from 21st to 12th.
Fort has had a stellar week with six of its students taking out first-in-course certificates including key Mathematics awards. North Sydney Boys High received five firsts.
Knox Grammar at Wahroonga which last year was rocked by evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse also raced up the league table from 28th to 19th and Pymble Ladies College improved by 11 places.
Cheltenham Girls High School in Sydney's northwest is the top comprehensive retaining 53rd spot while Newtown High School of Performing Arts soared from 82nd to 58th, Willoughby Girls High came in at 61st and Cherrybrook Technology High in the city's northwest 68th.
Co-educational Killara High, long regarded as one of the best performing government schools in Sydney's north, this year produced a first-in-course student for the state _ Elizabeth Parsons who topped Aboriginal Studies.
Westfields Sports High School contributed the state's top dance student in Sibel Alca and Cherrybrook Technology High also produced a first-in-course student _ Hansika Muthukuda in English Advanced. Carlingford High carried off two first-in-course certificates in hospitality and Japanese Beginners.
Modelling shows these high performing government schools, along with Killara High (78th), Carlingford High (79th) and Epping Boys High (86th) are getting better results than some prestigious private schools such as Newington College which charge more than $30,000 a year in tuition fees.
Malek Fahd Islamic School at Greenacre, threatened with closure after the federal government stopped its funding over serious governance issues, improved seven places to 69th.
Homebush Boys High School which counts Aussie home Loans founder John Symond and Olympics boss John Coates among its alumni boosted its strike rate of distinguished achievers to healthy 7 per cent _ up from 3.2.
In Sydney's west Canley Vale High School maintained its excellent record along with Bonnyrigg High, Alexandria Park Community School and Bossley Park High.
Comprehensive Holsworthy High in Sydney's southwest had the state's top student for information and digital technology, Napoleon Lendoudis.
Private schools that slipped down the rankings include Wenona at North Sydney (from 15th last year to 33rd), Shore (from 26th to 34th) and Barker College (from 31st to 51st).
But the Al Noori Muslim School at Greenacre in Sydney's southwest is seriously on the charge improving 55 places to 45th, and Masada College at St Ives (up from 74th to 49th).
The class of 2017 has achieved record-breaking results in the 50th anniversary HSC exams with the most students ever (1394) receiving the prestigious 'All Round Achievers Award' for achieving a top band score in ten or more units.
Analysis shows about 96 per cent of course results were in the top four bands, 41 per cent were in the top two bands and 12 per cent were in the top band.
Education Minister Rob Stokes today congratulated the high achievers wishing them the best of luck in their promising futures.
"I could think of no more fitting tribute to the 50th anniversary of the HSC exams than to praise the dedication, intelligence, hard work and perseverance of these remarkable young women and men," Mr Stokes said.
"We also commend the 69,000 students receiving their HSC this year (out of 78,000 who received results). 2017's remarkable results include more than two-thirds of all students ranking in the top three bands.
"Students receiving their HSC this year should be proud of what they have achieved. It is a starting point as young people move forward to discover their full potential. "
With students notified of their results from 6am this morning, Mr Stokes asked graduates not to panic if they did not meet their expectations.
"Today's results are just one of the pathways to success. Our education system provides many different opportunities beyond the HSC", he said.
TOP 10 SCHOOLS
1. James Ruse Agricultural High School (Carlingford) 77%
2. Baulkham Hills High School 62%
3. North Sydney Boys High School (Crows Nest) 59%
4. Sydney Girls High School (Surry Hills) 57%
5. Sydney Boys High School (Moore Park) 55%
6. Sydney Grammar School (Darlinghurst) 54%
7. Hornsby Girls High School 53%
8. North Sydney Girls High School (Crows Nest) 51%
9. Ascham School (Edgecliff) 50%
10. Northern Beaches Secondary College Manly Campus 49%
Percentage of distinguished achievers
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.