Information for applicants

Download a printable version of the information about applying for Year 7 entry to selective high schools in 2021 (PDF 791KB) and read it carefully prior to submitting an application. Find a translated fact sheet and translated information about the Selective High School Placement Test.

Students are offered placement in selective schools based on academic merit and the order of school choices.

Academic merit is usually decided by combining:

  • the results of reading, writing, mathematics and general ability tests in the Selective High School Placement Test
  • a ranking based on primary school assessments in English and mathematics.

This combination is expressed as a calculated placement score out of 300.

A selection committee is convened for each selective high school to determine placement of students. Selection committees may ask the current primary school or the parents to provide other evidence of academic merit.

Age and Year

Students will usually have been born between 1 January 2008 and 1 August 2009 to enter Year 7 in selective high schools in 2021.

Students applying to enter Year 7 in 2021 should be in Year 6 in 2020. If the child is outside the usual age range or is in a school Year other than Year 5 when applying, parents should email the Team to explain the reasons. Selection committees may ask for further information when considering the application.

Selection committees may:

  • decide not to accept students who are much older than the usual age range set out above
  • request an interview if your child is very young, to determine any special requirements
  • consider that students doing the test for a second time have gained an unfair advantage from their previous experience with the test
  • decide not to accept students who will be in Year 7 in 2020 and who are seeking to repeat Year 7 in a selective high school.

Students already in Year 7 at the time of the test can be considered for placement in Year 7 the following year only if there are extenuating circumstances. A full explanation, supporting documentation and the principal's support for the repetition are required. Selection committees will determine whether such applications will be accepted.

If parents are seeking acceleration from Year 5 in 2020 to Year 7 in 2021, selection committees will need to see evidence of consultation with the school principal. The student would need to gain a score which places them in the top half of the students offered placement in their chosen selective high school. On a statewide basis only one in 200 students would generally be capable of acceleration in all subjects.

Brothers and sisters

Entry to selective high schools is based on individual academic merit so the placement of one twin or triplet does not guarantee the placement of another. Brothers and sisters and twins will be offered a place at the same selective school only if they both have scores that are high enough to qualify. However, selection committees for boarders can give priority to students who have brothers or sisters currently attending the same school.

Where brothers or sisters of students placed in a partially selective high school are not in the intake area for that school, parents may apply for out-of-area enrolment at that school. There is no guarantee that their application for out-of-area enrolment of brothers or sisters will be successful, as the school may not have the capacity to accept non-local students. Parents should consider this when choosing selective high schools.

Residency requirements

A student's family must be living in NSW by the beginning of the school year of entry.

A student must be an Australian citizen, a permanent resident of Australia or a New Zealand citizen to enrol in a selective high school. Information on Australian citizenship is available from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

  • Applicants who do not meet residency requirements may apply if they expect to meet them before early July when initial offers are made.
  • Applicants must show evidence of residency requirements being met before they can be offered a place in a selective high school, if the child qualifies.
  • Applicants who do not meet the residency requirements – including those who hold diplomatic visas – but who qualify for entry on academic grounds, can appeal if extenuating circumstances apply.

School principals are required to check claims of residency status and citizenship against school records. All successful applicants will be required to show original documentation, such as a birth certificate, Australian Citizenship certificate or permanent residency visa, before enrolment can be finalised by the school.

Offers will be cancelled if the placement was based on false or misleading information.

Residential address

Applications from parents who continue to live outside NSW after the school year begins will be considered only if there are vacancies after all suitable applicants from NSW have been placed.

Interstate and overseas applicants

You can apply while you are temporarily living interstate or overseas. If possible, your child should be in NSW to sit the test. Find out more about the interstate and overseas process.

Special considerations

The selection committees may provide special consideration under certain circumstances.

Cultural background

The selection committees will give special consideration to:

  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students
  • students who have been doing most of their school work using the English language for less than 4 years.

Parents may be asked to provide documentary evidence of cultural background if it is required.

Disability, medical or behavioural condition

The selection committees will give special consideration to students with a disability, medical or behavioural condition to determine if they have been disadvantaged in their ability to demonstrate academic merit. Students may also apply for special provisions for the Selective High Schools Placement Test.

Parents must disclose information about medical conditions and medication prior to the Selective High School Placement Test. Parents may be required to wait at the test centre during the test if authorised as a special test provision.

Illness or misadventure

The selection committees consider circumstances where illness or misadventure has affected a child's performance on the test or in the school assessments or has caused the child to miss the test. Parents can submit a request for consideration of illness/misadventure with supporting evidence before the test or within two weeks after the test.

Choosing selective high schools

Applicants can choose up to three selective high schools. Choose the selective high schools and the order of schools carefully. School choices can be changed up to 26 April 2020. Changes of school choice cannot normally be made after outcomes are released.

Find out more about boarding at agricultural high schools, Aurora College virtual secondary school for rural or remote students and about The Conservatorium High School.

Fees and financial assistance

There are no extra fees for attending a selective high school, unless your child is a boarder. Schools may ask for contributions towards the cost of materials for some subjects, as do other government high schools.

Financial assistance may be available for rural or remote students applying for boarder placement.

Agnes Borsody Scholarship

The Public Education Foundation’s Agnes Borsody Scholarship helps support female students with a refugee background through critical high school years at a selective public high school. The Agnes Borsody Scholarship will be available for the 2020 school year. For 2020 there will be up to 5 scholarships for students enrolled in years 8 to 11 in 2020 at a NSW public selective high school, or in a selective stream of a NSW partially selective school. Each scholarship consists of a bursary of $2,000 per year for 2 years (total $2,000).

Applications closed on 17 September 2019.

Enrolment requirements

The NSW Department of Education has a responsibility to assess and manage any risk of harm to its staff or students. This includes assessing and managing risks posed to students or staff at a school by any student. Where relevant, such situations will be dealt with in accordance with the Department of Education enrolment policies and procedures.

To finalise enrolment at a selective high school you must:

  1. have received an 'Authority to attend' letter from the High Performing Students Team
  2. present original documents to the school to prove Australian permanent residency or citizenship of Australia or New Zealand and proof of residency.

Offers will be cancelled if placement is made on the basis of false or misleading information.

Making an application

To apply for placement in a selective high school follow the application process.

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