What are selective high schools?

Selective high schools cater for the specific needs of high achieving gifted students who may otherwise be without sufficient classmates at their own academic and social level.

Selective schools help gifted and talent students to learn by grouping them with other gifted and talented students, teaching them in specialised ways and providing educational materials at the appropriate level. 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 Unit administers Year 7 placement in a selective high school. This is a separate process to that of specialist high schools such as performing arts or sports high schools.

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 22 fully selective high schools in NSW including Aurora College. 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
  • Hurlstone Agricultural High School – day and boarding places (rural students only for boarding)
  • James Ruse Agricultural High School – day places only
  • Yanco Agricultural High School  – boarding places only

The new Hurlstone Agricultural High School at Richmond is not yet operational. Hurlstone Agricultural High School  will remain on the Glenfield site until the opening date is announced.

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 base school) to be considered for entry to Aurora College.

Partially selective high schools

There are 24 partially selective high schools in NSW where students participate in selective English, mathematics and science classes. They are generally part of a wider cohort of students for classes in other key learning areas.

Conservatorium High School

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.

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