Selective school changes ensure fair access for all

More students from disadvantaged backgrounds will gain places in opportunity classes and selective high schools following changes to the selection process.

Image: Aboriginal students to gain more places in selective schools and opportunity classes

More gifted students from disadvantaged backgrounds will be able to reach their potential thanks to changes to the selection process for opportunity classes and selective high schools.

The change follows the NSW Government’s 2018 review of access to opportunity classes and selective high schools. The review found that certain groups of high potential students were missing out on places because of their low socio-economic background, Aboriginal background, because they had a disability, or because they lived in a rural or remote area.

Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said the new process will reserve up to 20 per cent of places for students from these four equity groups.

“A student’s academic potential should not be determined by where they live, their background, or their disability,” Ms Mitchell said.

“We are helping to address the unintended barriers that prevent gifted students from having fair and equitable access to opportunity classes and selective high schools.

“Every student who gains placement in an opportunity class or selective high school will deserve their place and have the academic talent to fulfil their potential.”

The combination of current acceptance rates of students from identified equity groups and the new reserved places will ensure selective schools are more reflective of the proportions of equity groups enrolled in NSW public schools.

If there are not enough applications to a particular school from students from under-represented groups or if these students do not meet the minimum performance requirements, the held places will be offered to general applicants based on their highest performance on the placement test.

The changes will be implemented this year for 2023 enrolments.

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