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Fairer for everyone: Improving access to selective school options

The NSW Government is making access to NSW selective and partially selective high schools and opportunity classes in public schools fairer for all academically gifted students by introducing minor changes to the selective schools entry exam from 2019.

A close up on a hand writing with a pen, with a white school shirt is visible in the background

Changes to the selective high school placement test are expected to make it fairer for all students.

Education Minister Rob Stokes said the minor amendments will help to ensure every NSW student has an equal opportunity to access the selective school system.

“Academic prowess does not discriminate by gender, ethnicity or postcode. There are students with academic aptitude in every NSW school and I want them to have the opportunity to participate in a selective education option if they choose,” Mr Stokes said.

The changes are in response to the NSW Government’s Review of Selective Education Access, which assessed the current entry process designed in 1991.

With 2019 selective school exam applications already finalised, Mr Stokes moved to reassure all students and parents they will not be disadvantaged by next year’s changes.

“Next year’s changes are making the test fairer for everyone and will retain the current exam’s format so as not to not disrupt any preparations students and their families may already be making,” Mr Stokes said.

The 2019 amendments include improving the psychometric design of questions, increasing avenues to apply for disability provisions and introducing a better balance of exam questions across subjects.

Extensive consultations with principals, teachers and broader school communities will take place throughout 2019 to inform the development of a new selective school entry process which will be phased in from 2020.

The consultation process will focus on some of the key themes arising from the review, including measures to encourage more students from low SES, rural and remote and Indigenous backgrounds to apply.

Once a new testing model is developed for the 2020 selection process, a suite of new resources and programs will be developed and to help all students prepare for the revised entry exams.

The Review of Selective Education Access report can be found on the NSW Department of Education website.

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