Opportunity classes – Year 5

Opportunity classes cater for high potential and intellectually gifted students in Years 5 and 6.

Applications for opportunity class entry in 2024 have now closed. Late applications cannot be accepted except where some very stringent conditions are met.

The Opportunity Class Placement Test will be conducted on Thursday 27 July 2023.

 

What are the benefits?

Opportunity classes help students learn by:

  • grouping them with other high potential and gifted students
  • using special teaching methods so students can learn concepts in more detail and more quickly.
  • supporting their wellbeing needs.

Most students in opportunity classes enjoy learning more when their classmates have similar abilities and interests.

VIDEO: What are the benefits of selective education?

[Transcript of video animation: ‘What are the benefits of selective education’ (2 minutes 39 seconds)]

Selective education creates a unique opportunity for high potential and gifted students and has the potential to have a positive impact on their educational outcomes and to open new pathways for their future.

Deciding whether to apply for a place in an opportunity class or selective high school is an important choice for your child's education.

Here are some questions to help you decide:

What is selective education and what are the benefits?

Opportunity classes and selective high schools deliver the New South Wales curriculum using specialised evidence-based teaching methods that are proven to support the learning and wellbeing needs of high potential and gifted students. Students will learn at a faster pace and explore concepts of increasing difficulty in greater depth.

Students will learn alongside peers who have similar ability and interests because research shows that grouping high potential and gifted students together is good for their wellbeing.

Like all New South Wales public schools, academically selective education schools provide access to a wide range of extra curricular groups and activities.

What are some of the challenges your child may face?

Some students may feel anxious about going to a school where they might not know anyone. Don't worry, the schools know this and they plan activities to help students get to know each other.

Some students and parents are worried that the school will be overly competitive. Like all New South Wales public schools, our academically selective schools and classes encourage students to focus on learning and wellbeing, not competing.

Students are provided with a supportive environment where everyone is encouraged to challenge and expand their understanding of concepts and develop their skills.

If you feel that an academically selective school would be a good fit for your child, we encourage you to apply.

The introduction of the equity placement model has made these settings more accessible for students from a broad range of backgrounds. To learn more about selective education and how to apply for placement, visit the NSW Department of Education selective education web section.

[End transcript]


Common questions

Because all students in an OC class have high potential or are gifted, teachers can set more challenging and complex tasks to ensure that they are engaged and excited by their learning. There is also often a strong focus on problem solving and independent thinking.

Teachers also help students to develop independent learning strategies and time management skills. For example, students might set the direction of their own learning and be responsible for its completion. They can learn important skills needed for high school and beyond.

In some OC classes students may have the curriculum accelerated as they complete Year 6, 7, and sometimes even Year 8 work while they are still in Year 5 or 6.

Grouping gifted and high potential students together benefits their education, social development and wellbeing.

OC classes attract a large number of students from many different schools, and opportunity class placements bring together high potential and gifted students into the one classroom.

A local school enrichment class may find it difficult to form a class with students who have similar levels of ability to those found in an OC class.

What do students say about attending an opportunity class?

Students tell us that they love learning with other students who are like them—students who enjoy asking questions, delving into topics, and being challenged academically.

Before entering an OC class, some students feel like they are different from their classmates which can lead to feelings of isolation. Students often feel a greater sense of social ease and belonging when they learn and become friends with others who have similar abilities and interests in an OC class.

Where are they located?

There are 76 primary schools with opportunity classes in NSW each year.

  • 45 schools are located in metropolitan Sydney.
  • 30 schools are located in rural or regional centres.
  • A virtual class, Aurora College, is available for rural and remote students in 618 authorised host schools.

See a list of NSW primary schools with opportunity classes or find one near you on the maps below.

Opportunity classes are unzoned so you can apply no matter where you live in NSW.

Students successfully placed attend the opportunity class full time in Years 5 and 6 at the relevant public school.

In the majority of cases, students who have accepted a place in an opportunity class will leave their current school to attend the school with the opportunity class.

Is an opportunity class the right fit for my child?

First, discuss the opportunity with your child and look through the information together here on our website.

Your child may have high academic potential if they demonstrate some of the following:

  • enjoy learning
  • have intense curiosity
  • display a good memory
  • ask complex questions
  • enjoy learning new and often complex ideas or skills
  • require fewer repetitions when learning new things
  • are creative
  • become intensely focused in their area of interest or passion.

Note: Not all high potential and gifted learners will display all of these characteristics, for example, due to lack of opportunity, disability or disadvantage.

Learn more about the department’s High Potential and Gifted Education Policy.

VIDEO: Is selective education the right fit for your child?

[Transcript of video animation: ‘Is selective education the right fit for your child?’ (1 minutes 59 seconds)]

It's important to consider:

Your child's characteristics:

  • Does your child enjoy learning?
  • Are they curious and creative?
  • Do they ask complex questions?
  • Or do they have a well developed memory and deep focus on their areas of interest or passion?

Your child's personality and temperament:

  • Are they more motivated when challenged?

Students who worry too much about not being the 'best' or are regularly comparing themselves to other students and their achievements, may not find an opportunity class or selective high school is the right choice for them.

Your child's preference:

Does your child want to attend an opportunity class or academically selective high school? If you feel that an academically selective school would be a good fit for your child, we encourage you to apply.

The introduction of the Equity Placement Model has made these settings more accessible for students from a broad range of backgrounds.

Remember, opportunity classes and selective high schools are not the only option for high potential and gifted students.

High potential and gifted education is part of every school, and there are many specialist New South Wales public schools, in the areas of sport, music and performing arts, that may also be good options for your child, and your local school may also offer enrichment programs.

No matter which New South Wales Public School your child attends, their learning and well-being needs will be met.

To learn more about selective education and how to apply for placement, visit the NSW Department of Education selective education web section.

[End transcript]


The Equity Placement Model

The Equity Placement Model helps to make access to opportunity classes fairer for the following under-represented groups:

  • Students from low socio-educational advantage backgrounds
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students
  • Students from rural and remote locations
  • Students with disability

The model holds up to 20% of places at each school for students from these groups to help increase their participation.

These students may be considered for equity placement if their test performance is within 10% of general applicants' first round offers for each school.

Learn more at Equity Placement Model.

VIDEO: The Equity Placement Model—making access to opportunity classes and selective high schools fairer

[Transcript of video animation: ‘The Equity Placement Model: Making access to opportunity classes and selective high schools fairer’ (1 minute)]

The Equity Placement Model helps make access to opportunity classes and selective high schools fairer for students from:

  • communities of low socio-educational advantage
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students
  • students in rural and remote locations
  • and students with disability.

We know that these students are currently under-represented in opportunity classes and selective high schools.

The Equity Placement Model holds up to 20% of student places in each opportunity class or selective high school for students from these groups based on their performance in the placement test.

Equity students may be considered for equity placement if their test performance is within 10% of general applicants’ first round offers for each school.

Visit our website to learn more.

[End transcript]

How do I apply?

Applications for entry into Year 5 opportunity classes in 2024 open on Thursday 30 March and close Monday 15 May, 2023. Apply online during this time.

WEBINAR: Applying for Year 5 opportunity class placement

 

Current applicants

Current applicants for opportunity class placement in 2024 can continue to login to their application dashboard.

You may need to login to your application dashboard to:

  • Send us a message about your application
  • Make changes to your application
  • Upload supporting documentation
  • Change your school choices (up until Sunday 6 August 2023)

Information for applicants booklet

Key dates for Year 5 entry in 2024*

Date Activity
30 March 2023 Applications open
15 May 2023 Applications close
27 July 2023 Opportunity Class Placement Test
20 October 2023 Placement outcome released (expected)

* View all key dates for Opportunity classes—Year 5 entry in 2024.

Learn more about the application process

Category:

  • School operations

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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