Choosing an opportunity class

Parents can apply for their child to be placed in up to two schools with opportunity classes.

VIDEO: Choosing a selective high school or an opportunity class

Transcript of video animation: “Choosing a selective high school or an opportunity class” (4 minutes 7 seconds)

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[Female narrator]

Choosing the best schooling option for your child is a big decision. And each NSW public school is unique, so please take the time to learn which is the best fit for your child.

Here are some important factors to take into account when considering an opportunity class or selective high school.

Curriculum
All NSW public schools offer a range of subjects which follow the NSW curriculum. Both opportunity classes and selective high schools follow the same curriculum as comprehensive schools, but the manner of delivery may be different. Some selective high schools may offer elective subjects that others do not. Some may also offer particular subjects using accelerated learning techniques. Additionally, some selective high schools are agricultural schools that require all students to take agriculture as a subject up until Year 10. Partially selective high schools are more likely to offer vocational education subjects.

Extracurricular activities
Extracurricular activities are an important part of school life. Selective schools typically offer a wide range of sporting, musical and creative activities. Therefore, it’s important to find out what’s available in each school beyond the standard curriculum.

The location of schools
There are many benefits to choosing a school that is located close to your home. A lengthy travel time can affect your child’s ability to take part in before and after school classes and extracurricular activities. Research tells us that excessive travel can impact on academic performance and student wellbeing.

There are a number of ways you can learn more about the schools you are considering. Ask around. Your family, friends and members of the local community can often be a valuable source of information.

Look online
Consulting a school’s website and social media accounts can help you learn more about the staff and students at a school, as well as the subjects and the extracurricular activities a school offers.

Talk with your child
Talk to your child about their schooling options. Together, consider your child’s interests and abilities, their academic and social-emotional needs, as well as any specialised support they may require. You should only choose schools for placement that your child wants to attend.

Visit the schools
This is the best way to learn about a school. It provides you with an opportunity to meet staff and see the schools’ facilities and students. If your child has a disability or medical conditions that require specific supports you can discuss this with staff at the school and learn about the ways the school can support you and your child. Most schools hold one or more open days or offer school tours. You should check the school’s website to find out when these are held.

And remember, the order of your school choices is important. Places in opportunity classes and selective high schools are primarily determined by a student’s performance in the placement test, but there are other factors that affect placement outcomes. You can learn about these in the next video.

School choice can be changed up until a week after the test, so you do have time to visit schools in the lead up to, and following, the placement test.

For more information, please visit our website.

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Students are offered placements according to the available vacancies and based on their ranking in the order of merit list of students for that school.

Please consider your choices carefully. The selection committee does not select students on whether parents chose a school first or second. Selection is made on academic merit. If your child qualifies for both school choices, you will only be offered a place at your highest ranked school choice. If offered the second school listed, they may also be placed on a reserve list for their first choice.

See a list of schools with opportunity classes. See a map showing schools with opportunity classes.

Example

An applicant lists two schools in the following order:

  1. Neutral Bay Public School
  2. Artarmon Public School.
Scenario A

If the child qualified for Neutral Bay Public and Artarmon Public they would receive an offer from Neutral Bay Public School – the higher listed choice.

Scenario B

If the child qualified only for Artarmon Public School they would be offered a place at that school regardless of whether it was listed first or second.

Things to consider

Prior to choosing and listing your schools you should consider your own individual circumstances, such as available transport and travel times. Travel times or transport arrangements are not considered as part of the selection process.

You can change school choices without explanation before 7 August 2022 by logging in to your application dashboard and make the changes. You will not be able to change the choices in your dashboard after this date. After this date there have to be serious extenuating circumstances that are well supported by evidence and any change must be approved by the Team.


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