Information for applicants

Students are offered placement in selective schools based on academic merit and the order of school choices.

A selection committee is convened for each selective high school. It is made up of at least two people – the principal and a parent or community representative. Placement at a specific selective high school is made by that school's selection committee.

Academic merit is determined on the basis of:

Interstate or overseas applicants must submit a report of academic merit (PDF 160KB) if they cannot sit the Selective High School Placement Test.

The selection committees may contact the current primary school or request other evidence of academic merit. Unless requested do not send any additional documentation such as school reports, merit certificates, NAPLAN or other test results.

Read the Year 7 entry to selective high schools information about applying (PDF 1.72MB) carefully prior to submitting an application. This document will be updated for entry in 2019.

Age and Year

Students will usually have been born between 1 January 2005 and 1 August 2006 to enter Year 7 in selective high schools in 2018.

Students entering Year 7 in 2018 will generally be in Year 6 in 2017. If not, parents should email the Unit to explain the reasons.

Applications may be temporarily placed on hold for students whose age or school year is outside the limits described above to allow the selection committee to complete further inquiries.

Entry to selective high schools is based on individual academic merit. There is no guarantee other family members will receive placement offers.

Residency requirements

Generally candidates must be Australian citizens, permanent residents of Australia or New Zealand citizens to be able to enrol in a selective high school. Information on Australian citizenship is available from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

  • Applicants who do not meet residency requirements at the time of applying – but expect to meet them before early July when initial offers are made – may apply if they are already living in Australia. Applicants must show evidence of residency requirements prior to being offered a place.
  • Applicants who do not meet the residency requirements – including those who hold diplomatic visas – but who qualify for entry on academic grounds, can appeal if extenuating circumstances apply.
  • Citizens of New Zealand living in New South Wales are eligible for selective high school entry. Permanent residents of New Zealand are not.

School principals are required to check claims of residency status and citizenship against school records. All successful applicants will be required to show original documentation, such as a birth certificate, Australian Citizenship certificate or permanent residency visa, before enrolment can be finalised by the school.

Residential address

A student's family must be living in NSW by the beginning of the school year of entry. Applications from parents who continue to live outside NSW after the school year begins will be considered only if there are vacancies after all suitable applicants from NSW have been placed.

Special considerations

The selection committees may provide special consideration under certain circumstances.

Cultural background

The selection committees will give special consideration to:

  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students
  • students who have been doing most of their school work using the English language for less than 4 years.

Disability, medical condition or behavioural disorder

The selection committees will give special consideration to students with a disability, medical condition or behavioural disorder to determine if they have been disadvantaged in their ability to demonstrate academic merit. Students may also apply for special provisions for the Selective High Schools Placement Test.

Note: Staff at test centres are not trained in first aid or the administration of lifesaving medication such as Epipens and Anapens. Therefore parents must disclose information about medical conditions and medication prior to the Selective High School Placement Test. Parents may be required to wait at the test centre during the test to administer medication if necessary.

Illness or misadventure

The selection committees consider circumstances where illness or misadventure has affected a child's performance on the test or in the school assessments or has caused the child to miss the test. Parents can submit a request for consideration of illness/misadventure with supporting evidence before the test or within two weeks after the test.

Choosing selective high schools

Applicants can choose up to three selective high schools. Choose the selective high schools and the order of schools carefully. You can change choices up to the end of April/early May each year. Changes of school choice cannot normally be made after outcomes are released.

Enrolment requirements

The NSW Department of Education has a responsibility to assess and manage any risk of harm to its staff or students. This includes assessing and managing risks posed to students or staff at a school by any student. Where relevant, such situations will be dealt with in accordance with the Department of Education enrolment policies and procedures.

To finalise enrolment at a selective high school you must:

  1. have received an 'Authority to attend' letter from the high performing students unit
  2. present original documents to the school to prove Australian permanent residency or citizenship of Australia or New Zealand.

Offers or enrolments will be terminated if placement is made on the basis of false or misleading information.

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