What are selective high schools?

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

Selective 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 of specialist high schools such as performing arts or sports high schools. Find out more about how gifted and high potential 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
  • 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.

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.

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.

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.

Numbers of places

Find out how many places are available in selective high schools for placement in Year 7 in 2020.

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