Choosing your schools

Learn about how offers work, how many schools you can apply for and what to think about when choosing your schools.

Applications are now open for opportunity class entry in Year 5 in 2025.
Applications close 20 May 2024.

A mother helping her daughter with her backpack when dropping her off at her primary school A mother helping her daughter with her backpack when dropping her off at her primary school

How offers work

Parents are offered a place based on test performance and the order of their school choices.

The test performance needed to get an offer at each school is different. This is because it is based on the number of students who apply, their test performance and the number of places available at the school.

Number of school choices

  • For selective high schools you can choose between 1 and 3 schools.
  • For opportunity classes you can choose between 1 and 2 schools.

In the application website, you must list your school choices in your order of preference.

Ordering your school choices

When initial outcomes are released

Parents can get an initial offer of placement from only one school.

If your child’s test performance meets the levels needed for an offer from multiple schools, your offer will come from your higher choice school only. See Choosing schools – example scenarios below.

Later offers from reserve lists

Students may be placed on a reserve list(s) for a higher-choice school(s) when outcomes are first released. If their position on the list is reached, they may get a later offer.

Learn more about at Outcomes.

The order of your school choices is important

This is because:

  • You cannot decline a placement offer to get a later offer from one of your lower-choice schools.
  • If you decline an offer from one of your lower-choice schools and you are on a reserve list for a higher-choice school(s), there is no guarantee that you will get a later offer from a reserve list.

So please choose the order of your schools carefully and select the school you want the most as your first-choice.

Do I get any advantage for choosing a school as my first choice?

Your child will be considered for all school choices based solely on their test performance. You will not be given any extra consideration for listing a school as your first choice.

Choosing schools – example scenarios

Changing your school choices

You can change your school choices after you submit your application – see 'last day to change school choices' in the Key dates. For more information refer to the Selective high schools and opportunity classes placement procedures.

high school students walking out the front of school high school students walking out the front of school

What to think about when choosing your schools

Choosing the right school for your child is an important decision.

While all NSW public schools follow the same NSW curriculum, each school is unique. Find out which school will be the best fit for your child.

Your child's needs

Consider their:

  • interests and abilities
  • academic and co-curricular needs
  • social and emotional needs
  • any requirements for specialised support.

Location

Choosing a school close to home has many benefits:

  • Reducing the time travelling to school. This could reduce any negative impacts on academic performance and wellbeing.
  • Allowing time for more activities like sport and music.

Learn about the schools

Visit school websites and their social media pages to learn more about their community, school facilities and subjects.

Ask friends, family and your community about their experiences and recommendations.

Find out if the school has an orientation day or open day to visit.

Your child's wishes

Talk to your child about which school they like.

Choosing a school that your child wants to go to is an important consideration.



Video – Choosing a selective high school or opportunity class (duration 4:07)

VIDEO: Choosing a selective high school or an opportunity class

Transcript of video animation: “Choosing a selective high school or an opportunity class” (4 minutes 7 seconds)

[upbeat music]

[music fades]

[Female narrator]

Choosing the best schooling option for your child is a big decision. And each NSW public school is unique, so please take the time to learn which is the best fit for your child.

Here are some important factors to take into account when considering an opportunity class or selective high school.

Curriculum
All NSW public schools offer a range of subjects which follow the NSW curriculum. Both opportunity classes and selective high schools follow the same curriculum as comprehensive schools, but the manner of delivery may be different. Some selective high schools may offer elective subjects that others do not. Some may also offer particular subjects using accelerated learning techniques. Additionally, some selective high schools are agricultural schools that require all students to take agriculture as a subject up until Year 10. Partially selective high schools are more likely to offer vocational education subjects.

Extracurricular activities
Extracurricular activities are an important part of school life. Selective schools typically offer a wide range of sporting, musical and creative activities. Therefore, it’s important to find out what’s available in each school beyond the standard curriculum.

The location of schools
There are many benefits to choosing a school that is located close to your home. A lengthy travel time can affect your child’s ability to take part in before and after school classes and extracurricular activities. Research tells us that excessive travel can impact on academic performance and student wellbeing.

There are a number of ways you can learn more about the schools you are considering. Ask around. Your family, friends and members of the local community can often be a valuable source of information.

Look online
Consulting a school’s website and social media accounts can help you learn more about the staff and students at a school, as well as the subjects and the extracurricular activities a school offers.

Talk with your child
Talk to your child about their schooling options. Together, consider your child’s interests and abilities, their academic and social-emotional needs, as well as any specialised support they may require. You should only choose schools for placement that your child wants to attend.

Visit the schools
This is the best way to learn about a school. It provides you with an opportunity to meet staff and see the schools’ facilities and students. If your child has a disability or medical conditions that require specific supports you can discuss this with staff at the school and learn about the ways the school can support you and your child. Most schools hold one or more open days or offer school tours. You should check the school’s website to find out when these are held.

And remember, the order of your school choices is important. Places in opportunity classes and selective high schools are primarily determined by a student’s performance in the placement test, but there are other factors that affect placement outcomes. You can learn about these in the next video.

School choice can be changed up until a week after the test, so you do have time to visit schools in the lead up to, and following, the placement test.

For more information, please visit our website.

[music becomes louder and then fades out]

[End of transcript]

Extra things to consider for selective high schools

Subjects

Selective high schools may offer a variety of electives or subjects taught with accelerated learning techniques.

Partially selective high schools are more likely to also offer vocational education subjects.

Check the subjects available at each school and talk to your child about what they would like to study.

Extra-curricular activities

Check to see what extra-curricular activities the school offers.

Selective high schools generally offer a range of sporting, musical and creative activities.

Are there particular sports, clubs and or other activities that your child would like to do?

School locations

Go to Selective high schools or Opportunity classes (Years 5– 6) and search the maps to find one near you.

Category:

  • Teaching and learning

Topics:

  • High school
  • Primary school

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
Return to top of page Back to top