What are selective high schools?

Selective high schools cater for academically gifted students with high potential who may otherwise be without sufficient classmates of their own academic standard.

Selective high schools help these students to learn by grouping them with students of similar ability, using specialised teaching methods and materials. Selective high schools are unzoned so parents can apply regardless of where they live.

See some examples of student experiences at some selective high schools.

The High Performing Students Team administers Year 7 placement in a selective high school. This is a separate process to that for entry to specialist high schools such as performing arts or sports high schools. The Conservatorium High School is a specialist high school but applicants take the Selective High School Placement Test as part of their application to the Conservatorium.

Find out more about how gifted students are catered for in NSW schools, including the updated High Potential and Gifted Education Policy.

Types of selective high schools

There are two types of selective high schools offering Year 7 placement, fully selective and partially selective. They are located throughout NSW.

View the map of selective high schools

View a list of selective high schools.

Fully selective high schools

There are 21 fully selective high schools in NSW. In these schools all classes are academically selective.

Agricultural high schools

There are four fully selective agricultural high schools located throughout NSW. Agricultural high schools are selective high schools which emphasise the study of agriculture - they are a mix of boarding and day placement. Isolated students receive extra consideration for boarding places.

  • Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School - day and boarding places for boys only
  • Hurlstone Agricultural High School - day and boarding places for girls and boys
  • James Ruse Agricultural High School - day places only for boys and girls
  • Yanco Agricultural High School - boarding places only for boys and girls

Partially selective high schools

There are 25 partially selective high schools in NSW where one or two classes are selective while other classes are non-selective for local students. The students in the selective classes participate in separate English, mathematics and science classes. They generally join the non-selective students for classes in other subjects. Siblings of students placed in partially selective high schools are not guaranteed approval for an out-of-area placement there if it is not their local high school.

Aurora College

Aurora College offers Years 7 to 10 rural and remote students an opportunity to participate in selective classes for English, mathematics and science through a virtual high school. Students must be intending to enrol in a rural or remote NSW high school (their host school) to be considered for entry to Aurora College.

Numbers of places

Find out how many places are available in selective high schools for placement in Year 7 in 2021.

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